Putting Together The Right Prenuptial Agreement
Contrary to the impression you may gather from tabloid news sources, prenuptial agreements are not only advisable for the rich and famous. Any stigma that prenups may have once had in many minds is a thing of the past. Middle-class people of moderate means also increasingly realize the value of a prenuptial agreement:
- It encourages couples to understand each of their financial positions prior to marriage, since full disclosure of assets is part of the process. They have the opportunity to enter a marriage with a full understanding of both spouses’ financial pictures.
- If one or both spouses are remarrying, a prenup can alleviate tension between stepparents- and stepchildren-to-be by clarifying the intent of particular assets.
- It can clarify ownership of business interests and family wealth, including valuable collectible and multi-generational family vacation homes in the event of a divorce.
- It can give certainty and reassurance to older couples or couples of any age, with regard to how assets would be divided in the event of a divorce.
- It allows couples to spell out expectations for support of future spouses in case of a marital breakdown.
To strengthen the effectiveness and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement, couples should begin the discussion and work involved well in advance of a wedding date. Last-minute prenuptial agreements are not advisable. Our lawyers at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP, can guide you through the process with full awareness of what a prenuptial agreement can and cannot do, such as:
- Prenuptial agreements cannot specify future child custody or child support agreements, but they can spell out responsibilities for health insurance or life insurance for children in the event of a divorce.
- Prenuptial agreements go hand-in-hand with estate planning considerations but are not a substitute for estate planning. Rather, a prenuptial agreement specifically focuses on clarifying which assets will remain separate properties of the spouses once marriage takes place. (Brown Paindiris & Scott also handles wills, trusts and powers of attorney in the estate planning branch of our law practice.)
- Prenuptial agreements can be good tools for couples who have been cohabiting for years before marrying. In particular, same-sex marriages have been legal in Connecticut since 2008, but many same-sex couples in particular have shared households starting long before that year. A prenup or premarital agreement offers the opportunity to formalize the significance of the entire length of their relationships.