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The Case for Prenuptial Agreements

Rebecca R. Pouliot, CPA, CFP®

With approximately 50 percent of first marriages ending in divorce, it is wise to consider signing a prenuptial agreement before exchanging any wedding vows.

During our 40 years in practice, RINET has helped many clients through the divorce process.  We have repeatedly seen that clients who had prenuptial agreements in place tend to experience an easier, smoother divorce process than those who do not.  A prenuptial agreement can help protect assets that have been in the family for many generations like art, jewelry, securities, and real estate.

Any individual who is bringing significant personal or business assets to the marriage can benefit from a prenuptial agreement.  The most basic of this type of agreement documents an inventory of premarital assets, so that in the event of a divorce, these assets will remain the property of the original owner.

A prenuptial agreement can also protect your future business income, trust assets, or inheritances by documenting that these future assets are not to be divided with a spouse if the marriage should end in divorce.  In addition to protecting property and assets, a prenuptial agreement can cover areas such as waiving or limiting spousal support, death benefits, and your estate plan. 

Unfortunately, prenuptial agreements have a negative connotation.  Many tend to think this type of agreement questions the trust that should be the foundation of every marriage.  The stigma fosters the incorrect notion that if a couple is preparing for a divorce, they should not get married in the first place. The truth of the matter is that a prenuptial agreement is not a reflection of the individuals entering the marriage or on the couple.  At its core, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document that protects family wealth created over multiple generations – wealth that may be enjoyed during the marriage and wealth that should be protected and remain in the family in the event of a divorce. 

If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements or need assistance in starting the discussion with your significant other or a newly engaged child, please contact your RINET relationship advisor.  We are here to help start the conversation and work with you and your attorney to determine the best course for your specific situation.