As more people wait until they’ve lived on their own for a time and established themselves in a career before getting married, it’s more common for them to have some assets they want to protect via a prenuptial agreement. Of course, prenups can serve other purposes as well, such as protecting a spouse who plans to be a stay-at-home parent.
Besides there being more prenups than ever, attorneys are also seeing an increase in parents getting involved in their children’s prenups. This can have some advantages, but also some distinct disadvantages.
Maybe you’ve been able to convince your child that a prenup is a necessity before they tie the knot, but you’re afraid they won’t be able to advocate for themselves strongly enough. Should you get involved? It depends.
Is there a family business or trust?
If your child is an officer in the family business or there’s a family trust involved, you may have a vested interest in at least some of the prenup terms. Maybe you co-own some property with your child. There may be assets in their name they don’t know about. They may not fully be aware of all that’s at stake.
Of course, you should be taking other steps – for example, through your estate plan – to protect those assets. A prenup shouldn’t be all that stands between losing or keeping the family business or generations of wealth.
Some limited involvement in these areas may be wise. It can actually help your child be able to “blame” their requirements on the terms of the trust or business agreements they have to abide by.
Too much parental involvement can backfire
However, you don’t want to get so involved that their soon-to-be-spouse feels outnumbered and pressured to sign a prenup they’re not comfortable with. That could get the whole thing thrown out if there’s a divorce. It’s not going to get the marriage off to a good start, either.
It’s crucial to stay out of areas of the prenup that are none of your concern. If your child is agreeable to paying spousal support if there’s a divorce, that’s up to them.
This needs to be an agreement between the two people getting married. As long as your child has sound financial guidance, you can feel comfortable that they’ll be given the information they need to make good decisions and protect their rights in a prenup.