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Factoring debt into a prenup

Some subjects make for hot topics of discussion before a wedding takes place: the guest list, food to be served, ceremonial music, style of clothing and how to deal with that odd uncle in your mom’s family. Sometimes the discussions also include whether or not the couple to be wed should create with a New York City family law attorney a prenuptial agreement.

As you know, a prenup can help people avoid property division disputes in the event of a divorce.

A prenup helps a couple sort through assets owned before marriage and helps them to divide the assets appropriately should the marriage end. Assets include items such as real estate holdings, a closely held business, bank accounts, inheritance, retirement accounts, pensions, heirlooms and the like.

While couples with significant assets certainly are wise to consider the pros and cons of creating a prenuptial agreement, prenups are not only for the wealthy. After all, many people with more modest incomes also stand to inherit wealth, enjoy entrepreneurial success or retire with a substantial 401(k) account.

A recent article on prenups pointed out that many couples often overlook an important part of property division when creating a prenup: the division of debt.

What will happen to the debt people bring into a marriage, such as student debt, car loans and credit card debts? What will happen to the debt a couple accumulates in marriage, including a mortgage, as well as new auto loans, credit card bills and the like?

A debt clause in a prenup can protect you both from debt created by the other. That means you would not be held liable after a divorce for debt created during your marriage by your spouse and he or she would not be liable for debt created by you. It’s an issue to think about and discuss with a family law attorney. 

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