First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage (but can you please sign a pre-nup first?)
When two people meet and fall in love, many consider it “unromantic” to discuss the division of assets in the event of a potential divorce. No matter how strong the love, couples must face the reality that a divorce may happen. As such, if one party has assets to protect, it is only prudent to request a prenuptial agreement.
As a New York divorce attorney, my clients are constantly requesting my opinion as to how to broach the subject of a pre-nup without insulting or embarrassing their soon-to-be-spouse. Divorce before the consummation of marriage can be a delicate subject, particularly as it relates to finances. To soften the uneasiness of presenting this topic, I provide my clients with advice on how to broach it in a non-confrontational manner. Some of these steps are as follows:
- Provide your future spouse with plenty of time to review the pre-nuptial document. Your spouse will appreciate the time allowed to digest the information and to perhaps consult with an attorney who can provide assurances that his/her rights will be protected. Ample time will not only allow a party to understand the process, but also protect the “provider” of the pre-nup. Courts have invalidated pre-nups signed too close to the wedding date if the facts support a case for duress.
- Discuss with your spouse that provisions can be made that could protect him/her in a way that the law may not. For example, parties can agree on an amount of spousal maintenance and the number of years it should be received. In addition, housing arrangements can be determined in advance. On the other hand, provisions stipulating support for children are unenforceable. Courts are unwilling to guarantee these provisions as the determination for support of a child is mandated by the best interests of the child at the time of the divorce.
- Convey to your future spouse that you have made full financial disclosure. It is imperative that the parties involved are aware of all assets and liabilities that exist at the time of entering into a marital relationship. Many individuals find this to be very comforting. A prenuptial agreement entered into without full disclosure will also be invalidated in a court of law.
Importantly, a prenuptial agreement can always be amended if the circumstance so provides. Marriage and life are filled with infinite possibilities. Allow your spouse the comfort that if need be, the document can be revised or invalidated.
If you are interested in obtaining a prenuptial agreement, the attorneys at Keil & Siegel LLP are experts in the preparation of such agreements.