Prenuptial Agreements - Why the Long Face?

The value in setting up a prenuptial negotiation is that both people can lay out what really matters to them from a financial standpoint.

With various forms of insurance, we prepare ourselves and our families for the worst of circumstances. Prenuptial agreements can also be a helpful tool to prepare people for another life-changing event: divorce or happily staying married. No one plans on getting divorced before they marry, but isn’t it wise to be prepared? If you do not get divorced, it really does not matter anyway.

When it comes to prenuptial negotiation, don't depend on the law to protect you 15, 20 or 30 years from now. The law is open to interpretation and debate, and it changes with time. A beautiful example of this is the Florida Alimony Reform movement.  

Prenuptial agreements are often painted in a bad light. However, there are quite a few ways that prenups can make our lives better, such as:

  • Protection from the proposed alimony reform;
  • Property settlement agreements where alimony really does not apply;
  • Well-established marriage terms;
  • A solid understanding of the other person’s financial situation.

Alimony Reform

In Florida, with the possibility of Alimony Reform in the near future, prenups can become a positive thing for both people in the relationship. This is especially true for the person who enters the marriage with less wealth than his or her future spouse or with the intent of not working while married.

In Florida, a spouse of a long-term marriage (20 years or longer) is technically eligible for permanent alimony, until death or remarriage. After alimony reform, this may no longer be true. A prenup can protect a spouse’s right to alimony by outlining terms based on the family’s needs and not the stated law. This allows the spouses to control their own future with their pre-determined agreements in place.

Well-Established Marriage Terms

In the past, prenuptials have not stood up in court when the other spouse was denied the opportunity to receive independent counsel. Because of this, attorneys often advise their clients to ask their fiancés to get independent counsel regarding prenups.

This is an excellent reason why prenups can be a positive force during the entire marriage; these agreements must be distributed, reviewed, agreed upon and signed with a lot of time before the wedding date. In other words, each party has time to consider the terms and get independent counsel.

A Solid Understanding of the Other Person’s Financial Situation

Prenuptial negotiation is a fantastic way for you to understand the finances of the marriage you're getting into. Many couples don't talk about money before they get married, but this isn’t prudent. Both people bring their own financial baggage to the table.

As a mediator and planner, I’ve consulted people on how to structure their prenup. In one case, the husband was the primary wage-earner. He presented his ideas for the agreement, and I educated him on how to better balance the terms. The result was a prenup that both spouses found reasonable.  

The value in seeking counsel for prenuptial negotiation is that both people can lay out what really matters to them from a financial standpoint, including the money for their future children’s education.

If you are planning on marrying, don’t consider a prenuptial agreement your enemy.

Jennifer Failla, CDFA™
Principal, Strada Wealth Management
Toll Free: 866.526.7098