‘Golden Bachelor’ Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist Have a Prenup — And So Should You

Following three months of marriage, news broke that ‘Golden Bachelor’ golden couple Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist are divorcing. Not only that, they are apparently relying on the prenuptial agreement they signed to see them through. 

The couple, who sat down for an interview with Good Morning America, appeared to be in good spirits. Both claimed it was the distance that drove them apart, not a lack of love. Turner, who lives in Indiana, and Nist, who hails from New Jersey, reportedly were each unwilling to leave their respective digs and families to relocate to be with one another. 

Whether the couple should have considered this logistical detail more seriously sooner is up for debate, but regardless, having a prenup means they did thoroughly consider what would happen should they decide to part ways. By memorializing a plan of action in a prenup, Turner and Nist put themselves in the driver’s seat of not only their divorce but also their lives, something anyone on the cusp of marriage should do. Here’s why. But first off, what exactly is a prenuptial agreement?

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract between two people who are going to be getting married. The couple agrees in a prenup to what would happen should they separate or divorce, and also what would happen in the event of their death, an issue people often overlook. 

Prenups are essentially roadmaps for couples, detailing how assets, liabilities, and income will be handled during the marriage or in the case of a breakup or death. They allow couples to be transparent about their financial goals and provide clarity on issues such as spousal support, asset division, and the treatment of separate property. A select few non-monetary issues can also be addressed in a prenup.

What can a prenup cover?

Some of the most common issues prenups cover include the following:

  • Spousal Support. Prenups often address whether spousal support will be provided, how it will be calculated, or if it will be waived altogether.
  • Asset/Debt Division. Prenuptial agreements can outline how assets and debts acquired during the marriage will be divided. 
  • Separate Property Protection. Prenuptial agreements protect assets and debts brought into the marriage, ensuring they remain with their original owner in case of divorce. Separate property can include real property, retirement accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, jewelry, and art and wine collections, among others. 
  • Inheritance. Prenups can determine how inheritance, a separate asset unless co-mingled with marital funds or used in support of the marriage, will be handled. 
  • Children. Prenups can cover issues of custody and child support, provided the child is already born. That being said, both of these issues may be subject to modification by a court to protect the best interests of the child. 
  • Family Businesses. Owners of family businesses aren’t generally fans of having outsiders delving into their books. A prenup can set the terms for how and what the scope of an investigation for purposes of divorce would look.  

The Importance of Timing and Approach When Creating a Prenup

Timing and approach are crucial when broaching the subject of a prenuptial agreement. Therefore, it is advantageous to have these discussions well before the wedding date, allowing both parties ample time to consider and negotiate the terms with the oversight of their respective lawyers. 

Springing a prenup on a soon-to-be spouse at the last minute can create unnecessary tension and distrust for a couple and among their extended families. It can also leave room for its validity to be questioned. 

Ensuring Fairness and Legal Validity

As mentioned earlier, to ensure the fairness and legal validity of a prenup, both parties should have separate legal representation and disclose their finances fully to one another. Prenups should also be clear, balanced, and not unduly one-sided. 

Additionally, prenups should adhere to state laws. Some states require that a prenup be signed outside a specific period before the marriage, for example.

In New York, there is no such waiting period. However, the more time between the signing of the prenup and the wedding, the less likely there will be questions about the prenup. 

Dispelling Common Misconceptions About Prenups

One common myth about prenuptial agreements is that they are exclusively for the wealthy. This is untrue. Prenups can benefit individuals from any financial background, offering protection and clarity in the event of divorce or separation. 

Another misconception is that prenups are unromantic or indicate a lack of trust. On the contrary, they can foster open communication and prevent misunderstandings down the road.

The Pitfalls of Poorly Executed Prenups

The biggest drawback of a poorly executed prenup is that it may not hold up in court or fail to adequately protect one or both parties’ interests. Rushed or unfair agreements can lead to legal challenges after the fact and costly litigation, undermining their intended purpose of providing clarity and security.

Alternatives to Prenups and Additional Considerations

While prenuptial agreements are the most common tool for financial protection during and after marriage, couples may explore other options, such as postnuptial agreements. Couples may also seek to deliberately keep property separate during the marriage, though doing so without a prenup raises more risk for mistakes that could change legal outcomes. 

Regardless of the approach chosen, open communication, full disclosure, and legal guidance are each helpful for creating a fair and enforceable premarital arrangement. A family lawyer with experience drafting prenups who asks pointed questions and is intent on understanding every couple’s unique circumstances can provide invaluable insight and guidance. 

A last word about prenups …

Prenuptial agreements are valuable for couples who want to navigate complex financial matters before marriage and protect their interests during and potentially after it. By approaching these agreements with honesty, fairness, and legal diligence, couples can establish a solid foundation for their future together, limiting potential conflicts and uncertainties along the way and allowing love to grow unencumbered.

Contact Lisa Zeiderman to get started on a prenup now.

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