It may seem like the minute you announced your engagement, your parents talking about your prenuptial agreement. They feel more strongly about getting one than you do.
If you’re in this situation, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, nearly two-thirds of their members say they’ve seen an increase in parents getting directly involved in their children’s prenups.
What are they protecting?
That’s not without good reason. It’s been estimated that Baby Boomers are or will be passing on some $60 trillion in wealth to their children. It’s been called the Great Wealth Transfer.
Even if you aren’t expecting to inherit enough to retire to your own island at 40, you may not be fully aware of what kind of assets could be at stake if you divorced. If you’re a beneficiary of a trust or part of a family business, your parents have a right to ask you to take steps to help protect those assets. Of course, you have a right to some transparency regarding those assets before you broach the subject of a prenup.
Too much involvement is counterproductive
While your parents can strongly encourage you to get a prenup, it’s crucial that their involvement in drafting the document is limited. Too much involvement (and/or pressure on your fiance) can end up getting it tossed out of court if you ever need to use it. If someone feels coerced into signing a prenup or if the terms largely benefit one party, it probably won’t hold up – and you’ll likely have a very resentful new spouse.
Parents or other family members should never dictate the terms of your prenup. They should just let you know what needs to be protected in divorce (like a trust or other inheritance, a share of the business and/or other assets) so that you and your attorney can take it from there. Remember that your future spouse should have their own legal representation as the prenup is drafted and reviewed. They have the right to ask for – or refuse – any terms they want.
If you’ve got two sets of parents involved in a prenup, things can get highly complicated. When both parties have experienced legal guidance as they develop their prenup, they can craft one that’s fair to both of them and legally sound.