Valentine’s Day is definitely the most romantic day to pop the big
question. The atmosphere sets the tone to take that beautiful ring out
of your pocket, profess your love, and hope to spend a lifetime together.
Getting engaged on Valentine’s Day is gaining popularity among this
generation and so are prenuptial agreements. Once a couple has committed
to marry, they begin thinking about being prepared.
Prenuptial agreements are designed to protect the best interests of people
just in case things don’t work out as they originally planned (that’s
life, after all). They shouldn’t all be viewed as selfish, pessimistic,
or an expectation of failure. It is simply a way for partners to take
control of their own arrangements without needing to leave it in the hands
of expensive lawyers or judges.
As a divorce attorney/mediator and prenuptial agreement expert, I have
drafted hundreds, if not thousands of prenuptial agreements in the last 35 years.
Signing a prenuptial agreement is usually a good idea if you fall into
any of these categories:
You earn significantly more than your partner. If you bring in quite a bit more income than your partner, your partner
could end up with up to half of that money if you ever divorce. Signing
a prenuptial agreement can help you keep what is yours.
You earn significantly less than your partner. Similarly, if your income is much lower than your partner’s, signing
a well-crafted prenuptial agreement can protect you in the event of a divorce.
You are significantly wealthier than your partner. Signing a prenuptial agreement is a good way to ensure that your partner
is marrying you for you, not for your money.
You plan to quit your job to raise children. Leaving a job to raise a family will have a negative impact on your assets
and income. Signing a prenuptial agreement can protect a homemaker with
the financial burden of raising children.
You own all or part of a business. Without signing a prenuptial agreement, your spouse could end up owning
a part of the value of your business if you divorce. By signing an agreement,
you can prevent your spouse from becoming an unwanted business partner
and do something fair in return.
Your partner has a large amount of debt. If you are marrying someone who has or will have significant debt, signing
a prenuptial agreement may prevent you from becoming responsible for those
debts in the event of a divorce.
You wish to protect your estate plan. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that your estate plan functions as
You are remarrying. When a person chooses to remarry, they have very different financial
and legal concerns than in a first marriage, including things like protecting
children of a first marriage. Signing a prenuptial agreement with your
new partner can ensure that your wishes for all your family will be followed
if you divorce.
There are several issues I see as a common thread that lead to divorce.
Here are four tips to protect your relationship from the very outset:
Discuss Finances: Before getting married, couples often discuss where they are going to
live, children, careers, and which side of the bed to sleep on…
but rarely money. Some people have anxiety, guilt, or even shame about
the way they handle money. Do you really want to tell a potential spouse
that you’re an over-spender? Not exactly the topic of discussion
you want to have before you walk down the aisle. Have an open and honest
conversation with your future spouse about your finances and know your
“money style.” Will you share information about income and
assets? Usually when a prospective partner refuses to share financial
information, it is a very bad sign.
Be Aware of Abusive Qualities: Abuse comes in more forms than just physical. Things like name-calling,
blaming, emotional manipulation, and attacks on your character and abilities
are all signs of emotional abuse. Of course, if your future spouse actually
physically abuses you that is an immediate sign that it is time to exit.
Violence is never acceptable, and you shouldn’t accept any kind
of physical abuse. It usually gets worse.
Get a Prenuptial Agreement: Money matters, in what religion you plan to raise your children, family
business ownership, and planning for inheritance are just several crucial
topics that are brought to the forefront when discussing a prenuptial
agreement. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Having a professional
design your prenuptial agreement is very important. I have reviewed some
prenuptial agreements that have been unfair. Choose a lawyer who is experienced
in drafting prenuptial agreements. It matters!
See a Therapist: This person should be an objective, non-partisan, third party concerned
for the emotional well-being of you and your future spouse as a couple.
The therapist is someone who will guide you and/or your soon-to-be spouse
through the logistics of making decisions and compromises where there
are no losers. If you suspect there are personality disorders this can
be a big warning sign. Do not ignore them. These often do not show up
completely until after the marriage takes place.
If you have any questions about crafting a prenuptial agreement, please
call me at 212.734.1551.
FREE CONSULTATIONS are
conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.
I look forward to speaking with you!
Stay healthy and safe!
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone!
Call New York divorce attorney Lois Brenner today.
She is New York’s premier authority on prenuptial agreements!
Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.