Pennsylvania residents may think about celebrities and business magnates when prenuptial agreements are mentioned, but these documents are also often signed at the request of wealthy parents who want to protect family fortunes. Prenuptial agreements can strengthen relationships by removing uncertainties over money, but they should be approached with care. Discussions about important financial matters can turn into vitriolic arguments when these issues are handled less than diplomatically, and resolving things amicably may be impossible once emotions have been roused and tempers have flared.
Financial planners may encourage wealthy parents to broach the subject of prenuptial agreements before their children enter into long-term relationships. Parents who raise these issues after wedding plans have been announced may be accused of interfering, or their genuine concerns for their children could be taken as signs of mistrust or suspicion. Discussing family estates and the steps that should be taken to protect them relatively early allows these conversations to be about general financial matters rather than a prospective husband or wife.
Wealthy parents often see themselves as the stewards of great fortunes, and they may urge their children to sign prenuptial agreements to ensure that future generations are provided for. When discussions over prenuptial agreements do not go well and further negotiations seem futile, wealthy parents may be able to achieve the same objectives by placing their assets in trusts.
Family law attorneys with experience in divorce cases may have been asked to draft prenuptial agreements by both wealthy individuals who are planning to marry and wealthy parents. While such agreements can provide peace of mind, they should be negotiated in good faith and be entered into voluntarily. It is also important to ensure that their provisions are fair; judges tend to view prenuptial agreements that overwhelmingly favor one spouse with great suspicion.