Marriage prenuptial agreements surely aren’t the sexiest thing to talk about, but it’s an important one. I’m thankful to have the best Boston prenup lawyer, Gabriel Cheong of Infinity Law group, as a good friend and a wealth of knowledge.
Gabe, thanks for doing this for me. Thanks for also always feeding me. You’re awesome.
Getting married is about committing to a shared life together. For a successful marriage, you and your spouse should have a mutual understanding about your life goals. This includes a discussion about financial goals and what the plan for separate and marital finances will look like after marriage.
– Gabriel Cheong, Infinity Law Group
Q. How do I bring up the topic of a prenup agreement with my fiance?
Many people feel uncomfortable talking about money but the truth is that most marriages fail due to a lack of shared goals and financial planning. If we can have that discussion before marriage, then you’re eliminating one of the main causes of divorce.
You can start the conversation by opening up to your partner about your financial situation. Share with them your income, assets, bank account balances, and debts. This will start the dialogue from the other side about the same things and then you start to talk about your goals for the future, your fears about debt or lack of money for a catastrophic life event, and how to plan for it. Some people also find it easier if they both employ a financial planner to help them with this planning.
It’s about how you broach the topic and not so much the topic itself that makes it awkward or uncomfortable.
Q. What’s the range in cost I should expect to pay?
A prenup should cost between $1500-$4000 for each attorney (there needs to be 2 Boston prenup lawyers, one for each spouse) depending on the complexity of the agreement and the expertise of the lawyers involved. I would be weary if any attorney is charging too little or too much.
What should I look for in an attorney? What are some of the questions I should ask?
Attorneys that draft prenups are always divorce attorneys because we are the ones that have experience with the bad side of things and we know what to look out for and plan for in advance. You should look for a divorce or family law attorney to help you. Attorneys, just like doctors, are specialized in what they do. Just like how you wouldn’t go to a dermatologist for a problem with your kidneys, you wouldn’t go to a random attorney for prenup advice.
Your first consultation with the Boston prenup lawyer should involve you telling the lawyer what you want in the prenup. The attorney should discuss with you the details of what you want, what can be done, and other possible terms to consider as part of the prenup. The attorney should also discuss with you the requirements of a prenup and the process of getting it done.
When should we contact a lawyer about prenups?
You should sign a prenup at least 3-6 months before the marriage happens. And it takes about a month to get a prenup done. Ideally, getting a prenup done should be the first thing you do after getting engaged. That way, the required time period is satisfied and also, you get the prenup out of the way first so you can focus on all the good aspects of planning for a wedding.
What are the advantages of having a prenup?
Having a prenup lets you decide the outcome of a possible divorce instead of relying on generic laws. It lets you plan for each other while you’re in love and give each other a sense of security. It also creates certainty and goals for each other.
It’s also a reality that some couples only get a divorce because their family wants them to. In those situations, it’s mainly due to large gifts from family or a possible large inheritance. In those situation, we would narrowly tailer a prenup to separate gifts and inherited assets so that it satisfies both families.
What does a prenup actually include?
A prenup can be as broad or narrow as you two want it to be. It generally talks about how you treat separate and marital assets. Your prenup can be as detailed as talking about how you will each contribute to running a household and who will be responsible for paying utilities and food and insurance.
There are a few things that a prenup cannot include. Anything having to do with children is prohibited. You cannot predetermine ahead of time who will have custody of child or what child support payments will be. You also cannot put into a prenup any clauses dictating sexual activity or anything that might be illegal.
Can I DIY this with an online Boston prenup lawyer?
No. A prenup must have 2 separate attorneys in order for it to be valid and enforceable.
Can I get a post-nup later?
Yes, however, postnups are a relatively new thing in Massachusetts. Boston prenup lawyer will generally tell you that postnups aren’t as strong or as good as a prenup. So if you follow all the recommendations and get a prenup done as a first step after the engagement or well in advance of the wedding planning, it will take the stress out of the entire process and leave time for fun wedding planning.
Here are a few things that I’ve heard from friends, relatives, and couples about why they don’t feel like they need a prenup. Everyone’s situation is different, but I’ve asked Boston prenup lawyer, about how he would respond:
“We don’t have property or assets. That means we don’t need a prenup, right?”
A prenup can be used to talk about more than just current assets. It can be used to have discussions about current or future debt, future assets such as retirement accounts and houses, future alimony payments, or separating inheritances.
Just because you don’t have much assets now, doesn’t mean you don’t have debts or future assets to consider.
“I heard that prenups do not stand up in court”
Prenups is a contract between you and your soon-to-be spouse. It is however a contract that is unlike any other type of contract. In any other contract, once you agree to the terms, the contract is binding and enforceable. Prenups aren’t like that. Prenups have something we call a “second look” that happens if you ever needed to use the prenup.
Not only do you need to follow all of the requirements to properly draft and enter into a prenup, but if you ever needed to use it, there’s a second look to see if the prenup is still somewhat fair and reasonable at that later time. The question is whether applying the terms of the prenup will make someone homeless or not be able to self-support. If that would be the case, then parts or the entire prenup can be invalidated.
Most of the time, if you follow all the rules and if the prenup is not clearly one-sided or unfair, it will be upheld and enforceable.
“Prenups are too inflexible. What if our financial status changes? I don’t want to be stuck supporting a deadbeat if I don’t make the same income I do now.”
A well written prenup will create rules and conditions for when things happen. A prenup should never bind a party to pay alimony for life, for example, without a litmus test of income. A prenup needs to to balance certainty with flexibility that comes from life and a good Boston prenup lawyer should be able to help you achieve that balance.
If you’re uncomfortable with the terms of the prenup, you should let your lawyer know and you should never sign anything you don’t fully understand or uncomfortable with.
“We’ve already had some conversations about it, and we don’t need a lawyer. We have very honest communication.”
People change. Your recollection of what you talked about changes. Life happens. If there are specific things that you two have discussed about a prenup, it should be written down so everyone is on the same page.
Divorces are expensive. Contested divorces without a prenup are very expensive.
If you’re in need of a prenup, family, or divorce lawyer, I highly recommend Gabriel Cheong, Esp. and his associate Jaye Samuels, Esq.
Tel.: (617) 273-5110