Getting married to the love of your life can be an experience unlike any other that brings unlimited joy. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. In 2021, there were over 689,000 divorces.

Couples who get divorced once are also more likely to separate from their partner in subsequent marriages. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself during your second marriage.

Signing a prenuptial agreement is one of the most notable. This goes a long way toward both asset protection and financial protection. Let’s explore the key information you should know before moving forward.

Start Early

The sooner you propose the idea of a prenuptial agreement, the easier it will be to handle. A scenario you want to avoid at all costs is asking your partner to sign one a couple of weeks before the wedding.

Instead, be honest and transparent about your needs while presenting this information well in advance. There’s no minimum time frame to consider, but it’s generally recommended to sign this document at least a few months beforehand.

This gives your partner ample time to think about the terms and decide if the agreement is right for them. If they have issues with the agreement or would like to amend it, you’ll have the opportunity to resolve them.

Designate Separate and Marital Debt

Your prenuptial agreement should identify marital and separate debt. It should also define what assets will be considered separate and marital if they’re required during the marriage.

For example, your prenuptial agreement could state that if one spouse purchases a home in their name, it’s a separate property and not marital property. You could also designate each spouse’s income as a separate property.

This prevents issues from arising during divorce that would affect one’s livelihood. Without this protection in place, a judge may order a spouse to provide their former partner with a portion of their wages. This could require them to reduce their quality of life or find another source of income.

Real Estate Ownership

Homes are one of the most contentious aspects of a prenuptial agreement. If a home isn’t jointly owned, your prenup could declare that your spouse is allowed to remain in the home if you were to pass away.

You can add as many terms as necessary to scenarios like these. For instance, you could allow your spouse to remain in the home for 10 years before relinquishing it to your grandchildren.

Or, you could allow them to live there for the rest of their life. Regardless of the terms you set, ensure they’re appropriate for your situation.

Estate Plans

This is an opportunity for each spouse to decide on terms for their estates. Estate plans typically dictate how assets are allocated to children, grandchildren, or family members.

One of the most common ways to designate assets is through a trust. However, you can use a trust to guarantee certain assets go to a surviving spouse.

A reputable attorney can help you determine what terms will fit your situation the best. It’s essential to avoid moving forward with a prenuptial agreement that doesn’t adequately protect you.

Retirement Assets

Spouses have the right to be named as beneficiaries of retirement assets. Without a prenuptial agreement, they’re essentially entitled to the retirement assets you own.

If your marriage ends in a messy divorce, a situation like this can make it far more complicated. Your prenuptial agreement can establish that your retirement assets are yours alone.

Child Support

It’s not uncommon for people entering a second marriage to pay child support to a previous spouse. A prenuptial agreement can declare that child support payments should be made from a separate property.

To clarify, imagine marrying somebody who used your joint bank account to make child support payments. This could easily create an unnecessary financial burden.


During a divorce, your former spouse could find it difficult to determine what was a gift and what was marital property. Without clear definitions for these assets in place, a lengthy legal battle could ensue. Your prenup will prevent this issue from arising in the first place.

Debts From a Previous Marriage

Similar to child support payments, debts should only be paid from separate property. This is a crucial attribute to consider, as some people enter second marriages with thousands of dollars in debt. You can decide at a later date if you wish to contribute to your spouse’s debt.

Find the Right Family Lawyer

Navigating the nuances of prenuptial agreements can be difficult without the right family lawyer on your side. It’s never recommended to go through this process alone. Instead, look for someone with a stellar reputation.

A brief Google search is often all it takes to gain insight into what you can expect. You should also consider their pricing structure. Many lawyers charge hourly rates, but some charge flat fees instead.

Understanding what you’ll pay will prevent financial surprises from arising. The amount they charge is also important to consider. If they have rock-bottom rates, this is a red flag that they’re inexperienced or aren’t capable of meeting your needs.

Are they enthusiastic about helping you? You should never hire someone who isn’t motivated to help you reach your goals. This will only result in a negative experience and require you to hire a separate attorney.

They should also specialize in this area of law. If they haven’t worked with a large number of clients like you in the past, this is a red flag you can’t ignore. As long as you dedicate time to finding the right option, you shouldn’t have trouble.

Never Overlook a Prenuptial Agreement

Signing a prenuptial agreement before a second marriage goes a long way toward protecting your assets and providing much-needed security. The information in this guide will help ensure you make the right decision.

KFFJ Law has proudly served clients in Virginia for over 30 years. We stop at nothing to provide outstanding service and ensure all of your needs are met. You’ll learn more about how we can help when you schedule a call with us today.