Marriage is a wonderful institution. But in the 2020s, it can come with plenty of difficulties. All too often, you and your spouse can’t seem to overcome the problems, and you resort to divorce.
Divorces can be messy. The person you once loved to death now wants to take you to the cleaners, so to speak, both emotionally and financially. You think to yourself, “If only we’d signed a prenuptial agreement prior to vowing ‘I do,’ we could have avoided the legal mess we now must endure.”
Knowing the odds are stacked against a marriage lasting a lifetime, it won’t hurt for you (or you and your partner) to visit a prenuptial agreements lawyer prior to planning your wedding. If the legal information the lawyer presents to you sounds logical and makes you both feel more at ease, chances are you will both be willing to sign such an agreement.
But in some cases one partner is perfectly willing to sign a prenup, while the other partner might find even the consideration of the legal document insulting. According to a recent report by RBC Wealth Management, it’s not difficult to understand why lots of people apply negative implications to even the thought of a prenuptial agreement.
Prenups are a rather unromantic legal part of what is looked upon as a joy-filled preparation for the union of marriage. To many, a prenup suggests a lack of trust on the part of someone who is entering into an affluent family via marriage.
However, there is no question that a prenup can be a useful and important document for families that retain significant assets.
Defining a Prenuptial Agreement
Motivated by significant concerns over protecting family wealth, businesses, and inheritances, prenups, if executed properly early prior to marriage, can become an effective solution to all parties involved. This means the right time to discuss a prenuptial agreement is months if not years before the wedding is to take place, no matter how uncomfortable the discussion might seem.
The alternative is to go through a lengthy and expensive court battle should a divorce occur. Divorces typically affect fifty percent of all marriages.
Says a Los Angeles, CA, divorce lawyer, if you’ve signed a prenup agreement before marrying, you can avoid the legal court system altogether. But discussing a prenup to your potential spouse is decidedly a delicate matter. If handled with respect and common sense, it’s likely your future partner will at least consider the possibility of agreeing to the legal document.
Prenuptial Agreement Discussions Must Start Early
One of the first steps for families who retain multi-generational wealth is to have a prenup conversation early on with college-age children. They must understand that their future marriage partner will, without negotiation, be required to enter into a prenuptial agreement.
If families have a conversation about the necessity of a prenuptial agreement with their child or children even before a potential partner has been met, it can reduce the heated emotions that can naturally be attached to the legal topic. The focus of the conversation must revolve around protecting and preserving the family’s legacy and wealth and not about the emotional reaction of the potential partner who is about to join the family.
Lawyers agree that the crucial prenup conversation should start well before the marriage takes place. There needs to be a period of negotiation and perhaps even the consulting of lawyers on both sides. Only after the correct documents have been signed by both parties can the legal matter be put aside, and the planning of the wedding can begin.
Prenuptial Lawyers and Wealth Managers Can Assist with Creating a Plan
Says RBC Wealth Management, one of the key aspects of making the prenup go smoothly is to make certain the person being asked to sign the legal document is represented by his or her lawyer. The individual in the relationship asking the future partner to agree to the prenup should be willing to pay for the lawyer.
One alternative method for getting used to the idea of a prenup is to consider the idea of a “cohabitation agreement.” This comes in handy for a couple who are serious enough to set up house together but are not yet considering, or maybe never consider legal marriage.
A cohabitation agreement will cover many of the same things that are covered for couples who have entered marriage, such as who has the right to financial support, who is responsible for paying down debt, and who owns the rights to both real and intellectual property.
Marriage and even cohabitation can be a wonderful thing if it lasts for a lifetime. But the reality of partnerships is that eventually they can sour, which can lead to expensive legal battles. But if there’s significant wealth involved, it pays to have a discussion early on with your potential partner about signing a prenuptial agreement. It can save on a whole lot of heartache in the long run.