Forward Thinking Family Law Since 1994

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements protect significant assets before you marry and protect the interests of children from former relationships.

Establishing Expectations

Prenuptial agreements establish each person’s expectations before they enter into marriage. Such agreements can change the general rules that apply to married people if the marriage ends in divorce or death. Both parties should fully understand what the agreement states about their rights to the other’s property and how it will be divided after a divorce or death of a spouse.

Here are some issues to consider if you are presented with a prenuptial agreement.

  • Don’t be so dazzled by the prospect of marriage to a rich person that you fail to protect yourself.
  • Don’t sign anything before you hire an experienced family lawyer to review the agreement.
  • Each person’s assets and debts should be inventoried as part of the agreement, and each party should have their own attorney review the proposed agreement before signing it.
  • Don’t be duped into thinking that it is only his/her family that is insisting on the prenuptial. It is your future spouse who is presenting it and buying into the family priorities.
  • While it sounds good to marry into money, it’s not easy being the “poor relation” in a wealthy family. The inevitable outcome when you live in a family that has money is that they will not respect that you need to continue to work. Especially when you have children, they will encourage you to stop working. This will make you more dependent on your spouse and the family money.
  • Most prenuptial agreements allow your spouse to keep all the property that he/she brought into the marriage, regardless of how much effort you put toward preserving these assets and helping them grow.
  • Generally, the agreements prohibit you from collecting spousal support, regardless of your earning capacity and his/her ability to obtain income. You might end up with considerably less than you would have received had you not signed the agreement.
  • A prenuptial contract is very difficult to avoid once you have signed it, even when enforcement of the agreement is highly inequitable.