How to Write a Prenup: The Basics Explained

Updated on March 9, 2021 | by Benjamin Garfield

How to Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements—once thought of as something only rich and famous couples had—are becoming more common. 62% of American attorneys report seeing an increase in prenup agreement requests, with most of them coming from millennials.

But no matter your age and whether you’re getting married for the first or fourth time, signing a prenup agreement isn’t a bad idea. Although it may not be a romantic gesture, it will ensure you and your spouse-to-be will be in for a less messy divorce should things go south in the future.

What should you do first to secure this legal document? Here’s how to write a prenup in a few simple steps.

Come Clean About Your Assets

First, you and your future spouse need to reveal to each other everything you own—and may own in the future—that could potentially be up for grabs in the case of a divorce. This means not just money and property you currently have, but any inheritances you foresee owning down the road. Be completely honest about what you own, because anything you keep hidden can get challenged in court.

Talking to your spouse about finances should also be part of this conversation. You’ll need to decide if you plan on maintaining a joint bank account and who will receive the balance if you divorce.

Decide How Property and Debts Will Be Settled

Once you know each other’s assets, you can begin writing the prenup agreement. However, you’ll need to determine how outstanding debts will be settled if there’s a divorce, and what the two of you define as separate property and shared property.

You’ll also need to take your marital home into consideration. Will it be sold if the marriage ends, and how will the proceeds be split?

If you have children and pets, you’ll need to think about their well-being. You and your spouse should determine whether to share the kids and pets or if one parent will be the main guardian and who will pay for child support.

It’s also important to note that a prenup agreement doesn’t have to last forever. You can add a sunset clause that will state a date for the prenup to become null and void after so many years have passed.

Put it in Writing

You don’t necessarily have to hire a prenup attorney to draft your prenup, but it does have to be in writing and signed and dated by both parties. Check with the prenup laws in your state to learn if you need witnesses present when you and your spouse sign off on it.

You must then have the document notarized. If you do decide to write the prenup yourself, you’ll still need to have it reviewed by a prenup agreement lawyer. An attorney can make sure the language is clear and concise and that the document will hold up well in a divorce court.

This is How to Write a Prenup

Knowing how to write a prenup properly can save you a lot of stress and money if the marriage comes to an end. Follow these tips above to approach the subject with your spouse in a thoughtful manner and create a prenup you’re both comfortable with.

For more “how-to” tips, see our archive of Lifestyle posts.

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