Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wedding Season: Is a Prenup Part of Your Wedding Plans?


June is the month when wedding season gets into full swing, which means April is crunch time for wedding plans. Increasingly, those wedding plans include a Prenuptial Agreement.
We read about celebrities and other wealthy individuals who wouldn’t dream of getting married without a carefully conceived Prenuptial Agreements to protect their fortunes. Other couples create their Prenuptial Agreements with provisos that leave us skeptical about the long-term stability of a marriage that’s based on these kinds of priorities:
  • Who gets the pool boy, the gardener and the dog.
  • The right to perform random drug tests.
  • A claim on all frequent-flier miles should a spouse be unfaithful, plus severe financial penalties for incidents of unfaithfulness
  • Thresholds on the amount of weight both partners can gain. If either exceeds the limit, he/she will be fined $500/pound.
  • Limits on the number of football games the husband can watch with his BFFs; the wife’s constraints on the number of reality TV shows she’s allowed to watch.
  • Assurances that the kids will be raised as vegans.
We can laugh at these silly stipulations that have little relation to the hard work of making a long-term commitment and sharing a life with someone. Thankfully, these are rarely the kinds of terms that we see our clients including in their Prenuptial Agreements.

Prenuptial Agreements are on the rise for a few very good reasons

  • Couples are entering marriage later in life. They’re likely have gone to have graduated from college and often graduate school and have well-paying jobs. They’ve worked hard and accumulated assets—a home, a portfolio, a 401k. These are level-headed people who may have fallen in love and truly want to get married and live happily ever after, but they’re also practical enough to want to protect their assets.
  • Divorce has created another demographic that is increasingly inclined to create Prenuptial Agreements. These couples, like the ones described above, also tend to be older and have accumulated assets that they want to protect. But there’s another big factor here—each partner is likely to be bringing children into this relationship as they merge and become one of America’s many blended families. Especially for older couples who are getting remarried later in life, there’s a likelihood that each spouse wants to protect the assets that he/she is bringing into the marriage and, ultimately, the inheritance of his/her own children.
While there is often some initial reluctance to talk about money and creating a contract before the wedding has even taken place, it is really a very logical thing to do. Marriage is a contract, and thoughtfully working through the process of creating this agreement is an excellent way to begin a marriage.

Attorney review: A very good idea

Because a Prenuptial Agreement deals with the property rights of the marrying parties, it is advisable for both parties to have separate and independent attorneys review the agreement. Certain provisions, such as giving up the right to spousal support, are unenforceable if the party who later wants support (in a divorce proceeding) did not have an independent attorney explain the agreement to that party. California Document Preparers has relationships with excellent local attorneys and can provide referrals for the reviews. Combining quality legal document assistance with legal advice is an excellent use of your legal dollars.
Are you and your fiancĂ© considering a Prenup? We know this can sometimes be difficult for couples, so we’re sensitive to their needs. Contact California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area locations and schedule an appointment today! We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.

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