The Case for Prenups
It’s considered unromantic to propose a prenuptial agreement to the person you love and plan to marry. Who wants to think about divorce when they’re getting married? But the reality is that many marriages fail. And if yours ever does, a prenup may offer your best chance for preserving your assets.
“The better drafted and clearer the prenup, the more likely it is to be enforced,” says Phillips. If one spouse is hiding assets, or is forced to sign the prenup under duress, a court won’t uphold it. Even if both spouses agree that they don’t want support payments in the event of divorce, a court may require these payments if the judge thinks it is fair to do so, Phillips says.
A prenup doesn’t guarantee there won’t be a messy divorce. One of Phillips’s clients, married for nearly two decades, had a child and two luxurious homes at the time she and her husband split. According to her prenup, she was entitled to $1 million and hefty spousal support payments from him for as long as he was alive. But after a lengthy marriage, that didn’t feel sufficient to her.
“We went to court for life insurance, because otherwise, she would get nothing if he died,” Phillips recalls.
Prenups aren’t for everyone. If a couple are young, with no business interests, there’s little need for a prenup, Phillips says. “If someone is straight out of school, with no assets, and wants a prenup, I would say, ‘Run, this person doesn’t have the generosity of spirit,’” she adds.
"The Case for Prenups," by Chana R. Schoenberger was published in the June 2019 edition of Business Jet Traveler.