09 Jul

Some say that Prenuptial Agreements are unromantic and contemplate a divorce. Another way to look at it is Prenuptial Agreements are an opportunity to have a conversation about expectations during the marriage and to make sure partners are aligned.  

For a young couple, getting married is one of the most exciting and romantic times of their lives.  As people contemplate a future together, a Prenuptial Agreement can open the door to discussions about how both partners see their lives together. Will they have children? If so, will both partners work or will one parent stay home and be the primary caregiver. What economic value does that have for the family? If someone gives up a career or employment advances, should that be compensated in alimony or asset division? These are questions young couples may want to discuss and answer before they walk down the aisle. 

While a Prenuptial Agreement is a legal document that outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce or death, it can also be used to address the financial expectations of a life together. It can help to protect your assets, clarify financial responsibilities, protect your business, and avoid lengthy legal battles.

 Typically, Prenuptial Agreements address the following: 

1. Assets 

If a party has assets they want to protect, a Prenuptial Agreement can set forth how these assets will be divided or not divided in the event of a divorce or death. 

2. Clarify Financial Responsibilities 

The parties can agree in advance how bills will be paid, how joint accounts will be managed, and how debts will be handled. By having a clear understanding of these responsibilities, the parties can try to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts down the road. 

3. Business and Inheritance 

If a party owns a business, has received or expects to receive an inheritance, a Prenuptial Agreement can address how the business or inherited assets would be handled in a divorce and/or on death. A Prenuptial Agreement can protect a business, family assets, or inheritance by allowing them to stay in that party’s family and set the parties expectation as to those specific assets. 

4. Support 

A Prenuptial Agreement can address whether there will be and under what conditions alimony may be paid or received. Parties could choose to waive alimony/spousal support or decide to leave it up to negotiation or a court if the parties ever divorce.  Again, this is an opportunity to discuss and manage expectations. 

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional time, and no one enjoys a lengthy legal battle. By having a Prenuptial Agreement in place, parties can try to pre-emptively address many of the legal issues that can arise during a divorce. This can help to make the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved. 

Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts have many requirements to be considered valid and it is important to consult with an attorney. Prenuptial Agreements are important legal documents that take time to prepare, and parties should engage attorneys months before a wedding date so that there is an opportunity to address all issues important to a couple, provide mandatory financial disclosures and opportunities for negotiation.