Pink flowers and two golden wedding rings on white background.

Prenuptial Agreements: A Comprehensive Guide

When planning for a wedding, several considerations spring to mind. 

The perfect venue, a delicious cake, fitted attire, and the dreamy honeymoon. But amidst all these delightful nuptial preparations, one critical element is often put on the back burner— a prenuptial agreement. 

Although it might seem unromantic or filled with negative implications, a prenuptial agreement is, in reality, an essential planning tool you may not be able to afford to ignore.

We spoke about this over on my podcast recently, but to break it down a little more, this guide is for you. Today, we’re talking explaining how such an agreement may safeguard your interests and help you prepare better for your married life. 

So, before you finalize your vows, take a moment to explore why a prenuptial agreement deserves a place in your wedding plan. Your future self might thank you for your forethought and meticulousness today.

Let’s dive in.

The Misconceptions Surrounding Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, often shortened to “prenups,” have long been shrouded in misconceptions and myths. Many couples shy away from having this critical financial conversation, believing it to be a harbinger of marital doom, when in reality, prenups may offer clarity, protect individual assets, and serve as a helpful foundation for couples planning a life together. 

Here, we debunk some common misconceptions about prenuptial agreements:

The Simplistic Document Myth

One of the most persistent myths about prenups is that they are simple, one-page documents that may be drawn up and signed in a swift meeting. This is far from the truth. A comprehensive prenuptial agreement thoroughly outlines the couple’s assets, financial expectations, and responsibilities and may not be easily condensed into a one-pager. 

It often takes time, effort, and practiced legal advice to craft an effective agreement that adequately covers the complexities and contingencies of married life.

The Shared Lawyer Fallacy

Many couples wrongly believe they may share a lawyer when drafting a prenup. While the goal might be to save money or keep the process amicable, it instead may lead to conflicts of interest and ill-prepared agreements. 

Each party should have independent representation to ensure that their unique interests and concerns are recognized and addressed. Independent lawyers will also ensure that the prenup complies with legal requirements and is fair to both parties.

Preparing for Divorce or Planning for Life?

One of the most significant misconceptions about prenups is that drafting one is tantamount to expecting the marriage to result in divorce. This mindset may discourage many couples from even considering a prenup. However, prenuptial agreements are not synonymous with divorce.

Instead, they’re about planning for various life scenarios and having an open conversation about finances—how assets and liabilities will be managed during the marriage and the protocol in unanticipated circumstances. 

A well-crafted prenup may give a couple peace of mind and pave the way for a stronger, more transparent relationship.

The Importance of Comprehensive Prenuptial Agreements

Now we’ve debunked some common misconceptions, let’s address the need for a comprehensive prenuptial agreement. While cutting corners and saving money on legal fees might be tempting, an ill-prepared prenup may lead to costly consequences later. 

Here’s why ensuring your prenup is all-encompassing is crucial:

Protecting All Assets

Prenuptial agreements should include all your assets—houses, vehicles, investments, business ventures, and even collectibles. 

A comprehensive prenup paints a vivid picture of the couple’s financial landscape, detailing what each party brings into the marriage and how they want their assets to be managed, both during the marriage and in the case of unanticipated events. 

Neglecting to include an asset could result in disputes and unnecessary legal wrangling, defeating the purpose of a prenuptial agreement.

Establishing Responsibilities and Expectations

In addition to itemizing assets, a prenup may also stipulate financial responsibilities and expectations throughout the marriage. This may involve outlining income contributions to joint expenses, tax liabilities, and retirement planning. 

Couples may mitigate future misunderstandings and build a solid foundation for their financial journey together by setting explicit financial expectations in the prenup.

Protecting You from Your Partner’s Debts

One of the vital functions of a prenuptial agreement is protecting you from the liability of your spouse’s debts. A comprehensive prenup should include information about each party’s existing debts, such as student loans or credit card balances, and outline how debts incurred during the marriage will be managed. 

A well-drafted prenup may prevent you from being held responsible for your partner’s financial missteps and protect your personal assets from creditors.

Non-Financial Clauses

Although a prenuptial agreement is primarily a financial document, non-financial clauses may be incorporated too. 

These clauses may address estate planning, each partner’s duties, and responsibilities within the marriage, how marital disputes will be resolved, or even pet custody. While not all non-financial clauses are legally binding, they may provide a blueprint for how the couple wants to navigate their marriage. 

However, ensure that your prenup does not include any clauses that could be considered illegal or unenforceable.

In essence, a comprehensive prenuptial agreement acts as an effective tool for managing, protecting, and allocating assets while also fostering transparent conversations about a couple’s financial expectations and aspirations for their married life. 

Investing time and effort into crafting a thorough prenup today may save you from avoidable complications tomorrow.

The Planning Timeline for Prenuptial Agreements

Considering the prenuptial agreement early in the wedding planning process is essential. A last-minute scramble may lead to emotional stress, rushed decisions, and potentially an ineffective deal. 

Here’s a recommended timeline to ensure your prenup gets the attention it deserves:

Start Early – Six Months Before the Wedding

Ideally, begin the prenup process at least six months before your wedding date. Starting early will give both parties time to thoroughly discuss their goals and objectives, gather and review relevant financial documentation, and avoid the stress of rushing through the process. 

Early planning also helps couples approach the process clearly, allowing for more rational and in-depth discussions.

Seek Independent Legal Representation

As mentioned earlier, each party should have independent legal representation during the prenuptial agreement process. After initiating the discussion, research and select a lawyer focused on prenuptial agreements, ensuring they have your best interests in mind. 

Engage with your chosen attorney early enough, so they have ample time to understand your unique situation and create a comprehensive and legally sound document.

Drafting, Revising, and Finalizing

After selecting your lawyers, allow them sufficient time to draft, revise, and finalize the prenuptial agreement. This process will involve negotiations between both parties’ attorneys to ensure each client’s needs are fairly addressed. 

In this phase, it’s crucial to communicate openly and transparently with your legal counsel and your partner about your concerns, needs, and expectations.

Signing – At Least One Month Before the Wedding

Once the prenuptial agreement is agreed upon and finalized, it should be signed well ahead of the wedding—aim for at least one month before. Signing the agreement in close proximity to the wedding date could lead to challenges in the future, as it may be argued that one party was coerced into signing the agreement under duress. 

Ensuring the prenup is signed well before the wedding helps minimize the chances of such challenges.

Abiding by the recommended timeline ensures that the prenuptial agreement is well thought out and fair to both parties. 

Taking the time to properly plan, discuss, and finalize the agreement demonstrates that both parties are committed to a transparent, communicative, and responsible marriage, ultimately building a stronger foundation for your own happily ever after.

Prenuptial Agreements Beyond Divorce

When people think of prenuptial agreements, they typically consider them as a tool for asset division in the case of divorce. While that’s undoubtedly part of their purpose, prenups also offer a wealth of benefits and protections beyond the concept of divorce:

Protection in the Case of Death

A prenup may complement the existing will or trust in the unfortunate event of a spouse’s untimely death. It may clarify the deceased’s intent to distribute their assets, minimizing potential disagreements amongst surviving heirs and the spouse.

Maintaining Separate Property

Some couples prefer to maintain their separate property to pass on to children from previous marriages or for other personal reasons. A prenuptial agreement offers a clear mechanism for designating and maintaining such separate property.

Managing Business Assets

For entrepreneurs and business owners, a prenuptial agreement plays a significant role in protecting business assets. It may preserve the business or professional practice’s continuity by preventing potential disruptions due to marital property claims.

Updating Prenuptial Agreements

In life, many changes may occur—spouses might start new businesses, inherit assets, or perhaps face significant medical expenses. As such, it’s essential to keep your prenuptial agreement updated to reflect these changes:

Regular Review

Make it a point to review your prenuptial agreement regularly, say every five years or so, or whenever significant life changes occur. These changes could include a change in your financial situation, the birth of children, or a sudden change in your health.

Postnuptial Agreements

If necessary, you may update your prenuptial agreement through a postnuptial agreement. These agreements are similar to prenups but may be entered into at any point during the marriage.

Involving the Right Professionals

Just like when you drafted the prenuptial agreement, involving legal professionals during the update is crucial. Involving attorneys ensures that changes are legally sound and reflect each spouse’s current needs and intentions.

By considering prenuptial agreements beyond their use in divorce and by keeping them updated through life’s changes, couples may ensure that their financial plans remain robust, relevant, and capable of withstanding the tests of time.

The Role of a Team in Drafting Prenuptial Agreements

Creating an effective prenuptial agreement involves more than just a serious conversation between future spouses. It requires advice and input from several people who may guide the process and help ensure a legally sound, equitable agreement:


Involving experienced family law attorneys is key to the process. A lawyer will not only review the agreement from a legal perspective, but they may also identify and address potential legal issues, negotiate terms, and ensure the final document is enforceable.

Financial Advisors

Financial advisors play a distinct role in the prenuptial agreement drafting process. They help evaluate and project the long-term consequences of the financial provisions of the agreement. 

By examining subjects like pension plans, investments, and insurance policies, they clarify the agreement’s implications for the couple’s future financial standing.


In situations where the dialogue isn’t flowing smoothly or where more sensitive topics need to be broached, a mediator may be valuable. Trained in conflict resolution, mediators may facilitate communication, ensuring both parties are heard, and the process progresses toward a fair resolution.


Prenuptial agreements, far from being pessimistic harbingers of marital discord, are important tools for establishing financial clarity and stability in a future marriage. 

Depicting a comprehensive financial picture, prenuptial agreements protect individual assets, set financial expectations, and form a solid foundation for couples preparing to embark on their marital journey.

Despite being associated with the unfortunate event of divorce, prenups extend beyond their traditional image and play an essential role in planning for various life scenarios. To ensure an effective prenuptial agreement, starting planning early and involving relevant professionals in the drafting process is crucial.

Life evolves, and so too should your prenuptial agreement. It should be reviewed and updated regularly, reflecting life’s inevitable changes.

Though considered daunting by many, discussing a prenuptial agreement may actually strengthen a relationship, revealing your partner’s values around money, fairness, and future planning. 

Rather than seeing it as a negative, view the process of creating a prenuptial agreement as consolidating the foundation of your shared life, built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect.

I may need a divorce.
Hi, I’m Lori Barkus, a family law attorney. My Colorado and Florida-based law firm helps women have a successful divorce by achieving the fairest resolution in the most efficient manner possible. And today, I’d like to talk to you about the what-ifs of divorce. Let’s say you’re thinking about divorce, or maybe your spouse has shared some shocking and devastating news about a betrayal or told you that they’re thinking about divorce, and you’re completely caught off guard by this. You’re still determining what you want at this point. You might still be thinking, maybe I can still save my marriage, or it might be unavoidable and the process is moving forward. Your friends and family are telling you that you should go forward. They’re telling you, you should talk to an attorney. You have so much going on. You know you need help but you’re trying to figure out where to go.

We can help with this situation, because it’s something that my firm and I have faced many times over the years. In fact, we’ve seen cases like this so often that we’ve created an offering specifically for you. We do what’s called a strategy session, and the purpose of this session is to answer all of those what-ifs? We’re here to help you, not just tell you that you should go forward with divorce. We want you to understand what would happen if this goes forward. We want you to know what the process looks like. We want to answer your question about mediation. What is it? Is it right for you? What can you expect in terms of custody of your kids? Would you get alimony? Would you pay alimony? How does child support work? What if you want to keep your house? Maybe you’re concerned that your partner is hiding money.

We can answer all of these questions and more. We can also provide resources to help you understand your financial picture and help support you in making the decision. That’s what we’re here to do. We want you to determine if the marriage can be saved and if divorce is the right step for you, and if it is, we want to make your divorce a successful one. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Divorce FAQs

A divorce mediator is a neutral party who does not represent either person in a divorce. They can help you and your spouse reach an agreement on all divorce-related issues such as child support, parenting plans, dividing property and spousal support. Divorce mediation usually works best when both parties generally agree on how they want to resolve the various issues and are on amicable terms. At Barkus law, we provide a service that includes both mediation time to discuss and work out the details of your divorce as well as the preparation of all divorce-related documents you will need to file with the court. Although she is a family law attorney, in her role as a mediator, Lori Barkus cannot file paperwork on your behalf, nor can she provide you with legal advice. However, she can prepare all of the documents for you and give you detailed step-by-step instructions about how to file your paperwork. Should you have legal questions or require that paperwork filed on your behalf, you should speak with a qualified attorney about your rights and obligations before and even during the mediation process. Mediation is a low-cost and less stressful way to “untie the knot.” Sustainable Family Solutions offers a flat fee for the mediation process and an additional fee for preparing the documents you need to file with the court. Please call us for details.

In a collaborative divorce, both parties are represented by separate attorneys. The parties and their lawyers sign an agreement not to go to court and instead work together to create an agreement that is best for the parties and their children. The parties can end the process if it does not work, but, if they go to court to have a judge decide, they will each need to hire another lawyer. This keeps the lawyers and parties invested in reaching an agreement. Collaborative divorce can cost far less than a traditional or litigated divorce and can help preserve the family and keep children out of the process. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions, do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we’ll get right back to you.

In order to obtain a divorce, one party needs to state that he or she has lived in Florida for six months and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
A divorce can be granted over one party’s objection. As long as one party meets residency requirements and states that the marriage is irretrievably broken, there is no way to object to or to stop the divorce process from moving forward.

While you are not required to have a lawyer represent you, not having a lawyer can put you at a disadvantage. It is very important that you understand your rights and obligations before you reach any settlement or go to court. You may decide to seek legal advice or representation if you have questions about your rights in the divorce process.

While alimony can be modified, requesting a modification doesn’t mean you’ll get one. It’s not a matter of simply going before a judge and telling them that you no longer can pay what you have been paying your ex-spouse. These cases must be prepared carefully and those seeking a modification must be able to state a legal basis for the change. Under Florida statute 61.13, the trial court judge has the discretion as to whether alimony will be modified. It provides that when “the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes” either party may apply for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of alimony and the court has jurisdiction to make orders as equity requires, with “due regard to the changed circumstances of the financial ability of the parties.” The party seeking the modification carries the burden to justify the reduction by having to prove a substantial change in circumstances since the original alimony order and that the change in circumstances was not contemplated at the time of the final order of dissolution. The change also has to be “sufficient, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.” In other words, the party seeking a reduction can’t quit a job that paid them $100,000 a year and accept a job that pays significantly less. When it comes to being permanent in nature, this depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Should the spouse paying alimony choose to retire, the court can take that into consideration. However, that doesn’t mean there will be an automatic reduction or termination of alimony. The court has to consider the age of the payor, his or her health, and the reason for their decision to retire as well as the financial circumstances of the recipient. There are many scenarios that can be contemplated when seeking modification of alimony. Modifications require the consultation and assistance of an attorney who understands the process, the risks and the likelihood of success. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.

The goal of shared parenting is for parents to collaborate and to remain actively involved in their child’s life, not just on weekends or holidays. In most cases, parents share parental responsibility and make decisions together regarding education, health, and other important matters. Timesharing refers to the time each parent is allowed to spend with the child or children. In more and more cases, parents have equal or nearly equal timesharing with the children. Historically, most children whose parents divorce have spent a majority of their time living with one parent — usually the mother — with the other parent getting visitation rights. However, there has been a big push in recent years to balance the amount of time children spend with both parents, giving parents the opportunity to be actively involved in the raising of their children. In most states, including Florida, judges make custody decisions based on a”best interest of the child” standard. However, judges need not explain the reason(s) for their decisions. Several states have gone so far as to pass shared parenting legislation. In 2013, Florida lawmakers approved an alimony reform law that included a provision for shared parenting. However, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the bill. Equal timesharing isn’t for everyone and works best for those who are ready, willing and able to take on responsibilities for their child. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.

right arrowReady to learn more? Next Steps.

Related Articles

What is involved in a Divorce Consultation? Let’s talk about what a divorce consultation is. It is your chance to understand your rights and responsibilities in...

Read More

Can alimony be modified?

While alimony can be modified, just because you request a modification it doesn’t mean you will get one. It is...

Read More

What is collaborative divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, both parties are represented by separate attorneys. The parties, and their lawyers, sign an agreement not...

Read More