When someone mentions “prenup” others often think the couple is getting ready for a divorce before they even say, “I do.” Yet in reality, a prenuptial agreement can guide a couple through financial and other marital issues, putting them on the same page when they begin their life together.
The prenuptial negotiation process establishes what’s important to both parties. Through the conversation and back-and-forth, a couple can learn to talk with each other and work through disagreements. That’s a skill that will be quite useful in the years to come.
Premarital Agreements Can Answer Tough Questions
If true life was fashioned after the movies, only the super-wealthy would need a premarital agreement to protect the yacht in Greece and the ski lodge in Telluride. Prenuptial agreements are certainly important in high-net-worth relationships, but all income brackets benefit from a negotiated agreement.
Some of the most heated arguments, especially for couples amid divorce, are over assets and property. Many of these debates are settled in a premarital contract.
When two people marry, who had what before the marriage can get a little murky. Memories become fuzzy. The property a spouse brings into a marriage can range from a prized baseball card collection to a home kept on the rental market and a thousand other possibilities. The prenuptial agreement can put who owns what in writing should that ever become an issue.
Prenups Establish the Marriage’s Ground Rules
Determining property ownership is far from the only advantage of a prenup.
A premarital agreement can spell out important aspects of the relationship including the following:
- Will there be a joint checking account?
- What percentage of each person’s income will go toward household expenses?
- How much income will be saved for retirement?
- Who will be responsible for individual debt brought into the marriage?
- Will certain household chores be one person’s responsibility?
- Will an aging parent live with the couple?
- Which assets are reserved for children from a previous relationship?
- Who will own property acquired during the marriage?
- How will debt incurred during the marriage be handled?
Alimony can also be addressed in a premarital agreement, but child custody and child support cannot be predetermined.
Going through these questions is similar to premarital counseling. Understanding your partner’s point of view before you marry will help avoid arguments about these subjects after the honeymoon.
Asking for a Prenuptial Agreement
When you first get engaged, talking to your betrothed about a prenup can put a damper on their excitement. The conversation should begin with sensitivity about the subject and a thoughtful reason why a prenuptial agreement should be considered.
A heart-to-heart conversation should happen long before any agreement is drafted. Both parties should be equally involved in developing the contract. If one person hands over a draft for the other to consider and sign, the other person will probably feel blindsided and become defensive.
Hiring the right attorneys can also help the process be collaborative and not combative.
Hire Separate Attorneys
To ensure each person’s interests are reflected in the document, both people should hire their own attorneys to support the negotiation and review the drafts of the agreement. Whether you want a prenup or it is your prospective spouse who initiated the discussion, our firm has tremendous experience in helping our clients ask the right questions and think through various scenarios. We work toward a prenup that works for both parties.
Supportive and Strategic Prenuptial Legal Counsel
At Samuelson Hause PLLC, we understand both the emotional and financial implications of a prenuptial agreement. We also know our work is future-focused should the marriage break down. We want to have created a document that protects our client’s interests and enables a potential divorce to be resolved more quickly.
If you are engaged and want more information about prenuptial agreements in Long Island, reach out to us online or call (516) 584-4685.