Wedding Planning...Prenups???

When a couple sits down and begins to plan their wedding, they will often set up a timeline and a budget. How early should gowns, tuxedos or other attire be ordered? How early do you need to book a venue, florist, entertainment or photographer? Where will the rehearsal dinner be? Which hotel will you select for out-of-town guests? When do you need to order your rings? Also, what is the budgeted cost for these items? The amount of time and funds to budget for these tasks and purchases are all important things that should be discussed. However, there is something missing from this list. What about a “prenup”?

A prenuptial agreement, sometimes referred to as an antenuptial agreement, or a premarital agreement, or more commonly referred to simply as a “prenup,” is a contract that is voluntarily entered into by two parties prior to their marriage. Like many contracts, the exact terms of a prenup will need to be negotiated, reduced to writing, and signed by the parties.

In a prenup, parties can customize their financial plans for during and/or after their marriage. The terms of the prenup are designed to supersede their rights under the law. In the event of a divorce, the parties look to the prenup to determine how to address the issues that they contracted in their prenup. Their contract can specify each person’s rights concerning the equitable distribution of real property, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets. Couples can also include terms in their prenup regarding alimony, and other financial issues.

Occasionally, the negotiation of a prenup can become unpleasant for couples, as they are discussing terms that will apply in the event of the end of their marriage. The last thing that a couple should want to do is have these potentially unpleasant discussions so close to the wedding date, but it is important for a prenup to be carefully drafted for it to be enforceable. For a prenup to be prepared properly, the parties need to allow for sufficient time. To allow for sufficient time to negotiate and prepare the written terms of their prenup, parties should be contacting their attorneys six months to a year before the wedding. A bride wouldn’t wait until three weeks before her wedding to start shopping for a gown. Similarly, parties should not wait until the last minute to have their prenup prepared.

If you are contemplating marriage, you should contact the experienced family law attorneys at Cohn Lifland so that we may assist you with the negotiation and preparation of your prenup.