“I’m taking the dog”: 7 Reasons Why Engaged Couples Should Sign Prenuptial Agreements

We all remember the scene in Legally Blonde when Elle Woods helps her manicurist, Paulette, take back her dog from her less-than-charming ex husband. Making the painful decision as to who gets the dog after a divorce doesn’t have to be your responsibility. Property, inheritance, even ownership of the antique bedframe, can all be listed in a Prenuptial Agreement which helps preserve each partner’s expectations and immediately prevents surprises if a divorce should arise.

At Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst and Doukas, LLP, attorneys Jessica Mazur, Brian McFadden-DiNicola and Andrea Mackaronis have dedicated their practice to focus exclusively on handling family law matters and are well versed in the muddy waters of family law litigation. In this blog, our family law team divulges 7 reasons why engaged couples should be planning their prenuptial agreement before picking their flower arrangements.

  1. Past, Present and Future Income Stays in Your Pocket. Prenuptial agreements can specify that future income from a business is not to be shared with your partner, should the marriage end. This agreement can also include assets accrued through inheritance, as well as a waiver of spousal support.

  2. You Get to Keep your Grandmother’s Coffee Table and your 401(k). The most basic prenuptial agreement lists an inventory of premarital property that, in the event of a divorce, will remain the property of their original owner.

  3. This Land is My Land. By including premarital assets in your prenuptial agreement, each spouse preserves their right to his or her real estate property.

  4. Till Divorce Do Us Part. Prenups can also address areas such as the death of a spouse. Courts tend to look unfavorably at a Will that disinherits a spouse, and may grant an elective share, but will typically uphold the deceased’s wishes if a spouse is specifically excluded in a prenuptial agreement.

  5. Honey, We’re Splitting the Kids. Divorces involving children are by nature, more complicated. Couples with children and/or significant assets should make sure their children are protected if divorce is filed.

  6. Taboo You Can’t Undo. Newly engaged couples tend to shy away from discussing prenuptials as a taboo subject. Although it may not always feel like the ideal way to begin planning for marriage, prenups create the perfect opportunity for couples to have a serious, honest discussion about where the lines of responsibility and ownership are drawn and what you’re willing to share.

  7. Formalize the Future. Forget about who gets what. When it comes down to it, prenuptial agreements are the first step in planning a life for you and your partner. Take the time to sit down and discuss your partner’s priority with money, who’s paying for vacation and what you both are saving for. Addressing these issues can save your marriage from hidden resentment and emotional turmoil.

Don’t let the fear of a ‘tough’ conversation get in the way of ensuring a future with, or without, your partner. Our New Jersey-based prenup lawyers are experienced and compassionate litigators who can help you create the prenuptial agreement you need. To schedule a free initial consultation, do not hesitate to contact our Family Law Team at 732-545-4717 or at any of the addresses listed below. jmazur@hoaglandlongo.com, bmcfaddendinicola@hoaglandlongo.comamackaronis@hoaglandlongo.com.