If you have children and you are getting married, you need a premarital agreement. Why not make it Romantic?

March 15, 2017

By Mary Cushing Doherty

When a couple is marrying, if either fiancé is a single parent or divorcee, friends may suggest  they sign a prenuptial agreement.  A premarital agreement need not be a divorce plan. The quick brushoff that this suggestion is offensive could be misplaced.  Why not write a prenuptial agreement that is romantic?  It could be an acknowledgement of the couple’s commitment to their life together, including the role of children of a prior relationship.  The strains of marriage and remarriage are complicated by children, and more complicated when the children belong to one spouse.  A romantic premarital agreement will acknowledge that the couple has talked about their finances, their values, their priorities for each other and their priorities for their children.  This level of communication will bode well for a solid, strong marriage that will withstand future challenges.

One key feature of a premarital agreement could be the commitment by one spouse to forego the certain claims as the surviving spouse when the parent of the child or children dies.  The couple needs to balance their financial priorities and anticipate future savings before they marry.  By way of example, the couple could agree that savings in a 529 account intended to fund a child or children’s education will not be part of the decedent’s estate which is otherwise subject to the surviving spouse’s claims. On the other hand, the couple may opt to commit certain funds will be jointly saved to assure a survivor interest to the other spouse despite the needs of the children brought to the marriage.

Should problems arise during the marriage, the couple that addressed the needs of the children of the one spouse before the marriage, in advance of their wedding vows, will be better equipped to deal with those issues during times of economic stress.  Taking the opportunity to prioritize and verbalize both spouses assumptions may lessen the need for problem-solving later. If the marriage sadly fails, the memorialization of the intentions of the parties going into the marriage in their  premarital agreement, will save heartache and legal fees if they separate.  Likewise, the happily married couple that remain married “ until death do us part” will have clarified in their premarital agreement their expectations for the treatment of their finances when the first spouse dies.  Older children of a marrying couple may be skeptical of Mom’s or Dad’s decision to re-marry. Often children fear they  will lose out in the end despite Mom’s or Dad’s assurance that “Everything will be fine”.  Adult children who know their parents thought through their goals, sought advice of professionals, and made informed decisions, will have less reason to be concerned.

The premarital agreement, is a good planning tool to avoid problems later. A romantic premarital agreement may be the vehicle to strengthen the commitment based on shared values and communication.

To learn more about a romantic premarital agreement see the full article written by Mary Cushing Doherty at https://highswartz.com/blog/family-law/romantic-premarital-agreements-solving-planning-issues-without-d-word/. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Cushing Doherty at 610-275-0700 or via email at mdoherty@highswartz.com.

The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances.  The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.

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