Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

Having a prenup talk with your adult child — and what comes next

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Prenups and Postnups

If you’re the parent of an adult child who is in a serious relationship, you may be thinking ahead (even if they aren’t) to protecting your family assets should your child’s eventual marriage end in divorce. One of the best ways to do that is through a prenuptial agreement with provisions that keep those assets off the table in the event that a divorce property division agreement needs to be drawn up. That prenup, however, must be a fair, transparent agreement between your child and their spouse-to-be. There’s only so much you can do.

Convincing your child to get a prenup can be a challenge. They may see it as an indication that you don’t like or trust their chosen partner or have no faith that the marriage will last. That’s why it’s best not to wait until there’s a future spouse in the picture. This lets you focus on the importance of protecting the family wealth, including perhaps a family business.

Whether you’re looking at wealth handed down through generations, that you built yourself or a combination of both, it’s important to show your child how it has been built – and their role in protecting it for their and future generations. It can also help to emphasize that a prenup doesn’t prevent their future spouse from benefitting from that wealth to whatever degree they do throughout the marriage. It can, however, help keep them from leaving the marriage with some of it – and maybe even a share of the family business.

What you need to avoid

If your child is already engaged when you have the prenup talk, you have to be careful about encouraging them to pressure their spouse-to-be to sign. Certainly, future in-laws shouldn’t pressure them. If they can show in a divorce that they were pressured to sign it, a prenup could be ruled invalid. Even if they were presented with a prenup after wedding arrangements were in the works, they could argue that this alone made them feel like they had no choice.

It’s also important not to get directly involved in the creation of the prenup itself. Just make sure your child has the information they need to protect any assets they’re bringing into the marriage or that they’ll inherit later (including understanding how to avoid commingling assets).

You don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to worry about this. Any assets you’ve inherited or worked to accumulate are worth preserving.


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