Talking to Your Adult Child About the Importance of A Prenup

By Law Office of Karen S. Brown

Prenuptial agreements are more common than ever – even for young couples. Over 40% of Gen Z couples who are married or engaged report that they have a prenup. That percentage is closer to 50% for Millennials

If you’re the parent of a young adult in a committed relationship or already engaged, it can be concerning if they’re not interested in getting a prenup or their partner is resisting it and they don’t want to “rock the boat.” They may not be aware of what is at stake if they don’t have an agreement in place when they marry.

If you’ve worked hard to accumulate wealth, you’ve inherited it (or both), you want to protect that wealth. The same is true for a family business. There are ways to “divorce-proof” that wealth through estate planning. However, if you’d prefer that your child protect their own future inheritance, how do you convince them to do so?

The best time to talk to adult children about prenups is before they’re in a serious relationship. This prevents the talk from feeling like a personal attack on someone they love or as proof that you don’t believe the marriage will last.

Instead of focusing on the importance of preventing an “outsider” from getting the family assets, it’s typically best to emphasize the legacy you and past generations have built for your child.  Understanding what it took to give them the lifestyle they may have taken for granted can incentivize them to help protect these assets. Point out that a prenup doesn’t prevent their spouse from benefiting from those assets as long as they’re part of the family.

What Not to Do 

It’s crucial not to encourage your child to pressure their spouse-to-be to sign a prenup – and certainly not to pressure them yourself. If someone can show that they signed a prenup under duress, it likely won’t hold up in court.

It’s also important not to get too involved in the details. You’re not a party to the agreement. Give your child enough information to make informed decisions about the prenup.

Don’t wait until too close to the wedding. This can also invalidate a prenup. It may be better at that point to drop the subject and talk with your child about getting a postnuptial agreement before too much time passes.

It can be a lot to worry about at a time when you want to share in your child’s happiness. Getting legal guidance can help you and your child make sound decisions.