Leave it to select celebrities to give prenuptial agreements a bad name. Often, the only time such marital planning tools get any public exposure is when the demise of a famous Hollywood couple’s marriage is playing out in the tabloids.
That scares a lot of people, and many family law experts and financial planners think that is unfortunate. Concerning prenups (sometimes called premarital agreements), “The negative connotations come from celebrity cases, the ones that go bad,” laments one family law attorney who has drafted many such documents for clients.
Many attorneys agree, and also think that such an agreement is underutilized in a number of marriages. In fact, the number of executed prenuptial agreements — though still relatively small — is growing. If Floridians are indicative of the national average, about three percent of newly marrying couples in the state opt for a prenup, with about 20 percent of couples in second marriages having one.
As for the bottom line concerning who might need one, a bit of common sense and intuition can go far in making the determination. A couple living in an apartment, with virtually no assets, kids or other real estate — probably not. Flip the coin over on those elements, though, and a prenup can begin making a lot of sense.
Much of the stigma formerly associated with premarital agreements — e.g., they’re loveless, sterile, focused on failure rather than success — is evaporating as more and more couples are seeing the value in focusing early upon important financial and family matters. Many couples feel better educated and more empowered after executing a prenup, considering it part of essential estate planning.
A couples seeking more information on a prenuptial agreement and how it might fit into their lives as a useful planning tool should consider a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
Related Resource: Sacramento Bee, “More and more couples use prenuptial agreements” April 18, 2011