Articles Posted in Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Find out why millennials are the fastest-growing group of people are asking for prenuptial agreements and some issues to consider if you think a prenup may be something you need.

 WATCH: 5 Issues To Consider If You’re Thinking About a Prenup by Family Law Attorney Andrea Vacca

https://youtu.be/8KFHQEANrjg

If you are one of the millions of people who got engaged on Valentine’s Day: Congratulations! It may feel too soon to start talking about the details of your actual wedding, but I can assure you that it’s never too early to start talking about a prenuptial agreement. That’s because talking about a prenup is a financial and emotional conversation that’s only going to get more difficult the closer you get to the wedding day. During this early stage of your engagement, you and your fiancé are likely to be in alignment on the future that you plan to have together. That makes this the perfect time to talk about what a marriage and an economic partnership mean to each of you based on your respective values, goals and ideas around money. Starting the prenup process early helps to treat your future relationship with the respect that it’s due.

That’s not to say it won’t be uncomfortable to have this conversation. But, being uncomfortable for the sake of your relationship is one of the most romantic things you can do. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Stassi Schroeder from Vanderpump Rules “I feel like people look at that as like a dirty thing that we shouldn’t talk about, but it’s honestly, I feel like there is some romanticism to it and being able to be so close to someone that you’re willing to have those uncomfortable conversations.”

If you’re convinced that this is something you need to start thinking about now, then you may be wondering:

I recently contributed to a Your Tango article Forget Prenups: Here’s Why You and Your Spouse Should Have a Postnuptial Agreement Instead. Unlike a prenup, postnuptial agreements are negotiated without the duress of a wedding day looming. Instead, they are negotiated when a couple is able to discuss their goals reasonably and calmly.

The major benefit of a postnuptial agreement

Recently, I was interviewed on the WORTHY podcast ‘Divorce – and other things you can handle!’ to address the stigma around prenups and how a pragmatic approach can be the foundation for long-lasting romance. Listen to the podcast, and get my tips on how prenups and conscious coupling can create healthier marriages: https://www.worthy.com/blog/podcast/episodes/season-2/10-conscious-coupling-with-andrea-vacca/

In this podcast and in earlier blogs, I’ve discussed that millennials are waiting longer to get married, that they have typically accumulated substantial financial assets before marriage and have probably been negatively impacted by divorce at some point in their lives. This has resulted in a shift towards what I call “conscious coupling.” More so than earlier generations, millennials are likely to see the value of a prenuptial agreement to help avoid arguments, or even worse, having a judge make financial and business decisions for them. Two qualified attorneys or a single mediator will help the couple discuss all the issues and ask all the questions that they may not have known to ask themselves.  Not only will this type of conversation lead to an agreement that helps both parties feel secure, but it will also help to build the communication skills they will need if they want to develop a long and happy marriage.

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When same-sex marriage became legal, same-sex divorce also became legal. Divorce among same-sex couples is lower than the average but that is mainly because LGBTQ couples in long-term relationships were the first to marry when same-sex marriage was legalized. As more marriages occur, the statistics on divorce in the LGBTQ community are expected to approach the numbers of divorce in the general population. And many of these couples will have children, which means they will need to make difficult child custody, child support and parenting decisions. That’s not different from most divorces. What is different is that the issues that arise when same-sex parents divorce can be much more complicated.

The US Supreme Court landmark decision on Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015 ruled that there is a fundamental right to marry and required all 50 states and the District of Columbia to both license and recognize same-sex marriages under the 14th amendment. However, the courts are not equipped to deal with modern, complicated family relationships – and laws don’t reflect today’s family. When a married LGBTQ couple or unmarried same-sex partners share children, the parents need to be pro-active in protecting their parental rights and the rights of their children. Whether the couple stays married or separates, protecting the legal rights of both parents and the child should be their first priority.

  • Non-biological parents need legal authority to make healthcare decisions, even in an emergency situation.

Recent headlines announced that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ 25-year marriage is ending. He and his wife are the wealthiest couple in the world with a net worth of approximately $137 billion, and reportedly never signed a prenup. It’s also reported that when pop star Justin Bieber married model Hailey Baldwin in New York City last fall, they decided to forgo a prenuptial agreement as well. He’s reportedly worth more than $265 million, while her net worth is several million dollars.

We understand Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos are planning to divorce in a non-adversarial and collaborative manner, which is great news for them personally, as well as their four children. If Justin and Hailey ever divorce, we certainly hope they take the same route.

High net worth individuals, not just celebrities, often have complicated assets to value and distribute in the event of their divorces, including, businesses, complicated deferred compensation packages, private investments, assets held in trust, artworks, and more. By entering into a prenuptial agreement before marriage, couples have a contractual opportunity to discuss their assets and finances before the wedding and determine what will happen in the case of death or divorce.

Over the past few years, my law and mediation practice has seen a significant increase in requests for prenuptial agreements. A recent New York Times article The Rise of the Millennial Prenup cites the following contributing factors for the increase: millennials are marrying later, they are bringing more assets to the marriage and more women are in the workforce. According to an AAML survey (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers), 51% of divorce attorneys are seeing prenuptial agreements on the rise in the millennial generation, with the most cited issues:

• 78% protection of separate property

• 74% alimony/spousal maintenance

If you signed a prenuptial agreement before you got married, and believe there is any chance you and your spouse may divorce in the future, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law on December 22, 2017 could seriously affect the deal you bargained for.

One major change that occurred when that law was passed was that spousal support, which is also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, will no longer be tax deductible after 2018 to the spouse who is paying it, and will no longer need to be claimed as income by the person receiving it. Under the new law, a separation agreement must be signed within the calendar year of 2018, or there needs to be a judgment of divorce signed in 2018 directing that spousal support will be considered tax deductible in future years.

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The prenup was hell, but in the end it was almost as if that document became a repository for our anxieties, holding on to them so we didn’t have to.

~Abby Mims

The above quote comes from an article in The New York Times titled “Prenup Is a Four-Letter Word.” In the article, the author Abby Mims writes about her experience being asked to sign a prenuptial agreement. She and her fiancé had been together for a number of years and already had a child when they decided to marry — but the fiancé wanted a prenup.

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I recently presented a workshop entitled “Collaborating in the Face of Financial Betrayal” at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals 18th Annual Networking and Educational Forum, alongside my colleagues, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Ivy Menchel and Divorce Coach, Abby Rosmarin.

While this workshop was geared to the divorce professionals in the room, there are many lessons that anyone who has dealt with financial betrayal in his or her own marriage — and is contemplating divorce — should understand.

To start, we defined financial betrayal as the keeping of financial secrets in an intimate relationship. Financial secrets are different from other secrets because of the enormous ramifications that often result from them for many years to come.

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