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Older couples should consider prenuptial agreements

When an older couple in Florida considers a subsequent marriage, a prenuptial agreement or 'prenup" should be given serious consideration. For those who have accumulated substantial assets prior to the marriage, a prenup can be a versatile tool when considering financial matters.

A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement made prior to marriage between a couple in contemplation of marriage. It considers the present income and assets of the parties and determines how the assets should be divided in the event of divorce. The normal prenup considers separate property, or property that was brought into the marriage or received through inheritance or gift. In some instances, the document may consider marital property.

If one party has substantial assets and the other does not, a prenup discussion can determine how those assets will be consumed during the marriage. For instance, the parties may agree that a percentage of retirement assets be used for living expenses during the marriage.

Since many older partners have children of a prior relationship, the prenup can be used as an estate planning tool to consider inheritances and which property will be distributed to children on an inter vivos basis.

The prenup may also consider care and treatment options in the event of infirmity. It may define which assets are to be used first to pay for care and treatment expenses. Finally, a prenup can specify the method of dispute resolution in the event the marriage fails. Like many other contracts, a prenup can contain an arbitration clause.

Laws on prenuptial agreements can be complex, so a domestic law attorney may help couples to consider options and have the agreement reduced to writing. Questions should be asked of the attorney, concerns should be expressed, and various scenarios should be discussed to ensure that the partners are in agreement.

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