Prenuptial Agreements: Considerations Before Saying “I Do”
With the excitement of a wedding and the stress of last-minute preparations, a prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement or prenup) may be the last item on a couple’s mind before heading to the altar but it should not be overlooked.
While meeting with an attorney to discuss a couple’s rights and responsibilities may not be the most romantic aspect of an engagement, establishing a prenuptial agreement protects both parties and sets expectations for the marriage and beyond, should things go awry.
Kogut & Wilson details what couples should discuss when drafting a prenup to avoid surprises in marriage.
A couple’s financial histories and trends often make up a significant portion of a prenuptial agreement, and for good reason. With no clear expectations, disputes concerning assets, income, credit and debt can be detrimental to both the individual parties and the marriage.
Before tying the knot, couples should discuss each other’s spending styles, habits and financial goals in addition to considering:
- The primary financial decision-maker
- Existing and potential credit issues
- Responsibilities concerning spousal support and/or alimony
- Expectations for large monetary gifts and loans, including repayment
- Tax filing options and questionable tax deductions
- Managing accumulated assets
While lifestyles may change throughout a marriage, identifying each individual’s future goals with respect to having children, employment and education prevent potential disputes down the road.
To keep each other’s visions for the future in alignment, couples should determine:
- Career change possibilities
- Anticipated living location and moving expectations
- Household expectations
- Desire and timing to have children, including how many children
- Childcare responsibilities
- Plans for retirement
- Possibility of pursuing higher education, including tuition payments
Although couples may not want to think about the end of their marriage, identifying the processes to navigate life after divorce or death keeps both parties and their assets protected.
Prior to finalizing marriage, couples should discuss:
- Existing and future life insurance policies
- Heirlooms or assets to be divided among family upon death
- Childcare in the event of the parent(s) death
- Expectations concerning professional marriage counseling before divorce
- Mediation, collaborative law or alternative dispute resolution for divorce or litigation
While the above points provide a starting point for a prenup discussion, they do not serve as an exhaustive list of aspects to consider. Contact a Kogut & Wilson family law attorney to explore your options and identify additional considerations applicable to your family.