A prenuptial agreement, also known as a “prenup” or “premarital agreement,” is a legal document signed by two persons who are planning to get married. The agreement outlines how their assets, debts, and property will be held throughout the marriage and how their estate will be divided in the event of a divorce, separation, or death.
In Nevada, Marriage is considered a contract. Many of us may not read every contract we sign, however, if marriage is a contract, wouldn’t you like to at least know some of the general terms? These terms are located in the Nevada Revised Statutes Title 11, which pertains to domestic matters. In my personal life, I do not know of a single couple that looked at the statutes prior to getting married.
A prenup is a contract, in Nevada, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which means that they must be in writing and signed by both parties before the marriage takes place. The agreement becomes effective upon marriage and can be modified or revoked at any time with the written consent of both parties.
In my opinion, the main purpose of a prenup is to formulate your own contract, to provide clarity and certainty about how property and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, separation, or death. But more importantly, going through the terms helps to eliminate assumptions made by many couples. For example, many people fail to see that once you are married, if you do not have a prenup, all assets and debts earned after the date of marriage are community property. Thus, from the date of marriage forward, one-half of your retirement is your spouse’s; one-half of your paycheck is your spouse’s; and so on. Rather than accept the “one-size fits all” marriage contract located in the Nevada Statute, make your own contract, eliminate your assumptions, and have a conversation about your future marriage.
It is important to note that a prenup does not replace the need for a will or other estate planning documents. A prenup only addresses property and assets acquired during the marriage, while a proper estate plan will dictate what happens to said property at the end of life.
A prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool for couples who want to eliminate assumptions that they have about marriage and its duties. However, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that the agreement meets all legal requirements and addresses all relevant issues.
By Travis Clark, Esq.