I came across a blog today, written by a lay person (non lawyer), describing “Why Prenups Are Bad.” I understand this woman is happily married with three young adult children, and while I am happy for her, I was not amused at her assumptions. What is more disturbing, however, is that I assume her opinion is not uncommon. She explained that prenuptial agreements show a lack of trust in a partner, a lack of commitment to the relationship, a plan for the end, and stated that with a prenuptial agreement, the chances of success for the marriage are limited. I could not disagree more.
I recommend any adult with a business, real property, children, and pretty much anyone over thirty should execute a prenuptial agreement before deciding to get married. Romance aside, marriage is a contractual agreement. It is an agreement to partner your life with another person. To share in real property, income, possible offspring, etc. This contract, however, has no set terms. “Till Death do us Part” will not hold up in court, nor should it.
A prenuptial agreement sets out the terms of the marriage and any possible termination of the partnership. It allows both parties to disclose and discuss their finances, expectations and assets up front. I do not see how this can be seen as a bad idea. It would benefit all pre-marital couples to have this conversation. It would also make sense to, at this time, when everything is on the table and you are both on good terms, to determine what should happen if the relationship were to expire prematurely. Obviously, we all hope this is not the outcome, but it cannot hurt to be prepared. The alternate option is to “wait and see” and hope that if things go south you can amicably divide and negotiate, which is rare. Not only does a prenup make the termination less painful, it also makes it less expensive for the family, as well as the individuals.
As for the rational described in the blog, I have to say it seems to be a very archaic manner of thinking. Divorce is not the end of the world and people make the decision to end relationships all the time. Forever is commitment everyone cannot make. I believe prenups create more trust, a stronger bond, and enhance the chance of the marriage excelling.
A prenuptial agreement is not a plan for divorce. It is a plan to protect yourself, your future spouse, your future children and your assets. Ignoring the fact that relationships end is not the answer. Planning for the worst is the best way to ensure the best in any circumstance.