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Pre-Nuptial with Rings

What Should a Woman Ask for in a Prenup?

Nancy L. Giardina, Esq.  Sept. 7, 2023

Prenuptial agreements are generally associated with the rich and famous, though of course, any couple getting married can enter into one. The interesting part is what some of these prenups, as they are often abbreviated, contain as clauses.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a prenuptial agreement that awarded Ms. Jolie custody of all the children should her husband cheat on her, along with another clause that awarded the marital assets to all of the children in a trust fund if the two divorced. 

Tiger Woods had a prenup with his wife, Elin Nordegren, which he agreed to rewrite to try to save his marriage. As a result of the rewrite, Woods was on the hook for $110 million rather than $20 million when the marriage fell apart.

Note that the women came out the winner in both of these prenuptial instances, despite the popular conception that prenups favor the men who ask for them. Of course, women can also demand prenuptials to protect their interests should their marriage go asunder. 

If you are a woman in or around Syracuse, New York, who is contemplating marriage and the need for a prenuptial agreement to protect your rights and assets, contact me, Nancy L. Giardina, Esq. 

For more than two decades, I have helped individuals and couples in matters regarding marriage and divorce through mediation and actions outside of the courtroom. I will work with you to create a prenuptial that expresses your view of how you should be treated should anything occur that threatens your married life. 

I proudly serve clients throughout Central New York, including not only Syracuse, but also throughout the counties of Onondaga, Madison, Oswego, Cayuga, and Cortland.  

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that addresses issues that can arise if a legal separation or divorce occurs after marriage. The primary concern is often assets, debts, and legal obligations.  

One or both of the spouses-to-be look to include clauses that protect what they possessed pre-marriage and what they might acquire during marriage. As can be seen from the examples above, children are also a huge consideration, though there are many other issues that can and should be addressed. 

Challenges Women Should Address in a Prenuptial Agreement

If a marriage without a prenuptial agreement ends in divorce, the major issues concern assets and debts, children and their custody, and child and spousal support. 

Generally speaking, when it comes to assets and debts, anything acquired during the time of marriage is considered marital property. Anything that either spouse acquired prior to marriage starts out as separate property, but can then become commingled. If one spouse owns a rental unit pre-marriage but during marriage, the other spouse helps with the upkeep of the unit, that asset can become part separate and part marital, or commingled. It can get tricky. 

A prenuptial agreement can address the issue of separate property and how it is to be handled should divorce loom. How debts are to be handled post-marriage is also a major concern. In addition, a prenuptial agreement can determine whether there will be marital property, and how spousal support should be handled. These are all major issues that can and often do become contentious during divorce settlements.

Other issues that, from a woman’s standpoint, should be addressed in a prenuptial agreement include: 

  • PROTECTION FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: If you during your marriage, or before, create what is known as intellectual property, you want to make sure that your creations remain yours after your marriage ends. Intellectual property can include business ideas, music, video, photography, art, and the like. 

  • CUSTODY OF PETS: You don’t want to lose your favorite cat, dog, or other non-human friend when you decide the time for marriage is over. You can include a clause protecting your right to your pet(s) in your prenup. 

  • GIFTS AND HEIRLOOMS: You may part with a valued heirloom to your spouse during marriage, but when divorce time comes, that item may have great sentimental value and you wish to retain it. The item could be an antique or painting that became part of the marital household but you want to retain it after divorce. 

  • RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS: Generally speaking, any money placed in retirement accounts during marriage becomes marital property. A prenup can focus on this, dictating that each party’s retirement accumulations remain separate property. 

  • ESTATE PLANNING: A prenuptial agreement takes precedence over a last will and testament. To make sure your desires to help your loved ones, perhaps children from a previous marriage, are honored when you pass away, you can include provisions in your prenuptial agreement. 

  • SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTION: Your spouse may want to shame or dishonor you during divorce by sharing intimate details on social media. Your prenup can contain language to prevent this by specifying what your spouse can and cannot post about your life together. 

Pros and Cons of a Prenup

There really are not many cons when it comes to creating a strong prenuptial agreement. The only possible con is that it can be challenged in a divorce proceeding, but if it’s fashioned correctly with concise and proper wording, that should not be a problem.  

The pros are many, as addressed above. There is really no limit to what you can protect or define limits for in a prenuptial. Even if you think your marriage will be “forever,” a prenup is a welcome fallback should your relationship sour. 

Mediation to Bring You Peace of Mind

A prenuptial agreement is a vehicle that spells out the future if your marriage turns south. In other words, it brings peace of mind. If you’re considering marriage in Central New York, contact me. I will be happy to mediate between you and your spouse-to-be to help you create your agreement. The process can strengthen your relationship.  

Contact me, Nancy L. Giardina, Esq., to begin the process of creating a prenuptial agreement to safeguard your future—and that of your loved ones.