At Reade Law Firm, PC, we try to help correct two major misunderstandings when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are not tools used only by the rich and famous, and entering into a prenuptial agreement is not a sign that you think your marriage has a good chance of failing.
Instead, prenuptial agreements can benefit many couples, and can help a marriage start off on a strong basis so that it is actually less likely to fail.
To understand the benefits of prenuptial agreements, it is helpful to explore what they do and how they are created.
Basic Facts About Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who expect to get married. The agreement does not take effect until the marriage begins. A prenuptial agreement can specify almost anything about the relationship or about what will happen when the marriage ends, either through divorce or death.
Most often, prenuptial agreements focus on property that each partner owns at the time of the marriage. An agreement might specify, for instance, that a business owned by one partner will remain that partner’s separate property and not become marital property. Prenuptial agreements also often discuss whether alimony would be paid in the event of divorce.
A prenuptial agreement cannot be used to establish terms for child support or child custody. These issues always focus on the best interests of the child, rather than desires or convenience of the parents.
The Beneficial Process of Creating a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements can provide security in a marriage, but the primary benefits probably stem from the conversations involved in the process of creating the agreement. To be valid, a prenuptial agreement must be based on a full and fair disclosure of each partner’s financial information. This requirement essentially forces partners to have discussions about financial matters that they would otherwise be likely to avoid.
This is understandable. Investment details are not a romantic topic. Debts are even less appealing. If people are not required to talk about them, these topics are swept under the rug. This reluctance to address financial issues often causes problems that eventually lead to dissatisfaction and distrust, and can lead to the breakup of the relationship.
When both partners need to reveal their financial standing and understand their partner’s financial situation, this often leads them to see where they differ in terms of their attitudes toward spending, saving, and investment. The understanding of the situation and their similarities and differences helps the couple develop a firm foundation for the practical side of their marriage.
The process takes time, and it needs mutual input and conversation, so it is important to begin working toward an agreement several months before the wedding, if not sooner.
Protect Your Future with the Right Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement
Massachusetts courts take a very careful look at the provisions in a prenuptial agreement before they will enforce the agreement. At Reade Law Firm, PC, we know how to craft agreements to withstand legal challenge. In addition, we can guide you through the creation process in a manner that ensures that both parties are fully informed and protected.
To learn more about creating a prenuptial agreement, including how to bring up the subject with your partner, we invite you to contact us for a confidential consultation.