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I am considering marriage. Do I really need a prenuptial agreement?


Response from Cynthia Jackson, Esq.:

  People in the following situations need a prenuptial agreement:

  1. Those marrying for a second (or more) time who have children from a previous marriage whose rights they should protect
  2. Those who have the expectation of a sizeable family inheritance and want to protect it from the claim of an ex-spouse
  3. Those who have built a successful business through their own efforts and do not want to lose that business to an ex-spouse
  4. Those who have assets or a business that should stay in the family

  While it may seem heartless to think of money, divorce and death while planning a new life together, it really makes good sense. Discussion of these possibilities early and resolution of the issues will avoid some of the anger and heartache that can occur upon a later death or dissolution of the marriage. Even though a prospective bride or groom may trust his/her spouse, what about the spouse's heirs?

  A couple that is contemplating a prenuptial agreement must do it early in the planning to allow for the proper drafting and review of the agreement. Do not wait until the week before the wedding to insist on such an agreement or run the risk of having a later court set it aside. Both members of the couple should have an attorney. While this may seem like an unnecessary expenditure of funds, if the agreement is challenged later, it will be the best money ever spent because it is important to show that the agreement was fairly bargained by both parties.

  A prenuptial agreement should be fair to both parties. If one spouse is significantly wealthier, he/she should make some provision for the other spouse, especially if the marriage lasts for many years. Both parties should disclose their assets fully and completely.

  With qualified counsel and preparation on the part of a couple, it is possible to create an agreement that will allow them to marry with confidence.