It may come as a surprise to some Nevada residents that they're on the hook for the debts of their spouses. Whether one spouse comes into the marriage with debt or runs up his or her credit cards during the course of the marriage, both spouses may be liable for repayment. There are, however, precautions that can be taken with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed prior to the beginning of the marriage. They are recognized in every state. Prenuptial agreements set forth how the parties will divide assets and liabilities should they later divorce. They allow for tremendous flexibility. Parties can, for example, reaffirm by agreement that premarital debts will remain separate, establish the rules for handling post-marital debt, or call for the payment of certain debts specifically from certain income sources.
Postnuptial agreements are entered into after the marriage has begun. They are not recognized in all states. Where they're valid, postnuptial agreements might set forth which spouse is responsible for the repayment of certain debts both during the marriage and if the parties divorce. They may also require one spouse to indemnify the other against financial harm due to debts.
Even with these agreements, though, a creditor may still be able to hold either spouse fully liable for joint debt. In the event of divorce, a carefully crafted agreement may offer some level of financial protection. These agreements may also give one spouse rights to pursue claims against the other. An attorney with experience handling these types of family law cases may be able to help draft a pre- or postnuptial agreement that meets the needs of the client's situation.