Can we use a prenup to keep child support payments reasonable?

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Question:

Our wedding is next month. My children are grown, and my future husband's children are young (11 years of child support to go). His ex-wife is not above going after our combined incomes or properties. We have been advised to make a prenuptial agreement to protect ourselves from the ex and to prevent the children from starting a war later. What do you advise?

Answer:

First, don't worry about the kids going to war at this point. You have plenty of time to adopt a sensible estate plan that will prevent that.

For now, focus on whether it makes sense to use a premarital agreement to keep your and your new spouse's property strictly separate. In some states, doing this can result in a potential child support savings because your husband's personal balance sheet will not be inflated by your income. This is worth investigating when the former spouse is likely to go to court over every penny; you might want to consult a good family lawyer.

With your wedding only a month away, it's worth getting started on your prenup as soon as possible. We usually recommend putting together your prenup several months before you wed. The longer you wait, the more you risk later claims that the document was signed under pressure.

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