A financial planner’s thoughts on prenuptials

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Family Law on Thursday, July 28, 2011

We’d like to bring to your attention an interesting column on prenuptial agreements written by a financial planner.

The planner thinks back to when he and his fiancée were discussing a prenuptial agreement. The couple agreed they needed a prenup. They “discussed and negotiated,” he remembers, and they got counseling to hash out some of the finer points. They talked with attorneys and accountants over the course of months. After all of that, they decided not to get a prenuptial agreement.

Clearly, the process of working out a prenup doesn’t always need to be as complex or intense (or fruitless) as that couple made it. Consider, though, that virtually everyone from financial planners to accountants to family law attorneys will tell you that if you have significant assets before marrying, you should seriously consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

Even the financial planner who didn’t get a prenup argues that “most couples with unequal or complex financial situations and children from previous marriages would be well-served to enter into prenuptial agreements.”

He makes a good point: marriage isn’t just a union of love, it’s “also a legal and business relationship.”

It does no one any good to decide to get a prenup, only to find that the negotiation of the agreement undermines the relationship. So the financial planner offer tips on how to successfully discuss the topic.

  • Get help. Get the advice of a skilled, experienced legal advisor.
  • Pay attention. A prenup isn’t “just business.” It’s also freighted with emotions; pay attention to them.
  • Understand yourself. Make sure both bride and groom understand how they handle money and approach financial issues. He recommends the use of a financial therapist.
  • Perspective. Rather than looking at a prenup as protection in case of divorce, think of it as a way to plan for financial health. It’s the forging of a financial and emotional partnership with a life partner.

Source: Rapid City Journal: “RICK KAHLER: Suggestions for couples on how to negotiate a prenup” by Rick Kahler: July 10, 2011

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