A military marriage is like no other. It combines duty and romance, freedom and finance. Many eager young couples with one or both of the lovebirds serving our country never even consider a prenuptial agreement. This can have unfortunate consequences years in the future. Six critical aspects of a military prenuptial agreement must be considered along with the wedding planning.
You Have a Lot … Even If You Can’t See It Yet
Standing in base housing and staring at stark walls, nobody could blame military personnel for feeling they have very little in the way of assets. With the looming possibility of shipping out, or being assigned to a far-flung coast, you may not be thinking bedroom suites and matching china. But several valuable assets are already accruing for the military service member:
- Retirement benefits — A government pension may seem 30 years in the future, but its value years from now make it worth including in a prenuptial agreement, should you find yourself divorcing years later
- Separate property — Your relatives may have left you with property, bonds, cash, or real estate; unless you protect it with a prenuptial agreement, you could lose half of everything to your spouse
- Health coverage — Outline in a prenuptial agreement exactly how your spouse will continue to receive dental insurance, access to TRICARE, and more
- Commingled property — With a prenuptial agreement, you can clearly identify what assets you bring to the marriage so that, should assets become commingled during your happily married years, you can “undo” the interactions and get back what you brought to the marriage; it is very common for Virginia couples to draw on separate funds (like an inheritance) to acquire assets for the marriage (like a new car, appliances, or furniture)
Debt is a Liability
A military prenuptial agreement can also protect each of you from taking on the other’s debt accrued before your marriage. With military pay being what it is, you can expect to struggle financially during your marriage, making any pre-marital debt all the harder to pay off. Student loans, automobile loans for cars bought when you were both single, and credit card (unsecured) debt must all still be dealt with, but now your military marriage adds new expenses:
- Pregnancy and children
- Family vehicle
- More clothes and home furnishings
While you both surely love each other and want to help dig your way out of debt, have a cold and realistic appraisal of what debt is joint (marital) and what amount of debt you each had before the marriage.
Power of Attorney
Since one or possibly both of you could be deployed, giving each other the power of attorney (POA) for certain life events can greatly simplify your life together. With POA, your spouse can file your taxes, arrange and sign for loans to benefit both of you, and oversee your finances. Specifically discussing the POA in a prenuptial agreement will leave no doubt when the temporary power ends; it should end when you two agree to separate, so she cannot empty your accounts or ruin your credit history.
Don’t Forget the Children!
Many military families are blended, with children from previous. A prenuptial marital agreement can acknowledge these children from other relationships and provide financial support for them. This in no way separates the children of your new union as second-class citizens; it simply protects the little ones already part of your heart.
A prenuptial agreement can also detail the exact decommissioning of the marriage, leaving no question as to who is responsible for what task:
- How to unwind a small business you both started together
- Managing household bills and expenses during the divorce process
- Dissolving joint bank accounts
- Ending credit card accounts and dividing responsibility
- Continuing life insurance, retirement, and health insurance payments
- Paying for children’s private tuition, college expenses, or school activities
Your Marching Orders: Call The Firm For Men
A military prenuptial agreement can even be detailed enough to stipulate the process of divorce, as in who will leave and who will stay, who will contact an attorney and what type of divorce will be sought (uncontested, no-fault, etc.). The more explicitly detailed the cold realities of such a move, the more serene and calm the process will be, should it be inevitable. A military divorce is especially difficult, so the more planning, the better for both of you.
Reaching The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184, or by contacting us online, will help you get answers to every aspect of military marriage, separation, and divorce. Is a prenuptial agreement right for you? Discuss it with an experienced Virginia family law attorney today!