Despite all the articles in news media and journals such as Forbes, Rolling Stone and Time Magazine, etc. discussing why every couple needs to have a prenuptial agreement before they marry, many couples are nonetheless hesitant about prenups.
In this week's blog post, we will discuss the main objections that society has to prenups and why these objections are unfounded most of the time. The objections (and why these objections are untrue) are the following:
1) Getting a Prenup Means That the Couple doesn't trust each other. This could not be further from the truth. Just like how buying health insurance doesn't mean that you plan on getting sick, getting a prenup does not mean that you plan on getting divorced. You're simply preparing for the worst-case scenario.
While many people think that prenuptial agreements can signal distrust between the couple, the opposite is often true. That is because before a couple is allowed to draft and sign a prenup, they are required to disclose all of their major assets and debts to their future spouse. This part of the process is called the exchange of financial disclosures. This exchange requires that the couple implicitly and explicitly trust each other.
Because we also practice divorce litigation, our Firm is intimately aware of the main reasons that people divorce. One of the most common reasons that couples divorce is because they have fundamental disagreements over money. Sometimes these disagreements involve differences in the comfort level of each person with spending money. These disagreements sometimes even involve spouses hiding accounts and other significant assets from each other. Sometimes, these financial conflicts are only surface symptoms revealing deeper rifts in the relationship. And a marriage that is already on the rocks will only get worse if there are significant financial conflicts that develop that cause one or both persons to regret not getting a prenup.
In contrast, when two people exchange their financial disclosures with each other prior to signing a prenup and getting married, they are signaling to their future spouse that they implicitly trust the other person. Discussing and planning out the prenup also encourages the two people to discuss how, when, and why to spend their money during the marriage; a conversation that might only happen in bits and pieces during the marriage; if it even happens at all.
After all, what can signal more trust between two people than them saying to each other, "I love you. I have nothing to hide. Here are all my finances. Ask me anything you want."
Being on the same page - financially - as your future spouse is a healthy way to start the marriage.
2) Getting a Prenup Will Eventually Lead to a Divorce. Once more, there are no meaningful statistics showing that couples who get prenups have a higher rate of divorce than couples who marry without getting prenups. While we cannot speak for all of California or the United States, we can personally attest that none of the prenup clients of the Law Office of Brian Nguyen has ever approached us about getting a divorce. While we are not relationship experts, we love to give suggestions to our clients and their future spouses about how to craft prenups in a way that encourage healthy financial habits between the spouses that strengthen rather than hurt their relationship.
Also, knowing that a divorce will not ruin your life financially because you have signed a mutually beneficial prenup with your spouse means that you will have one less thing to worry about during the marriage. We don't see how that's a bad thing :)
One important limitation regarding prenuptial agreements is that you cannot include any provisions in the prenup that will pro-actively encourage a divorce. Any such provision in a prenup can be invalidated. In other words, California law prohibits any provisions in a prenup that pro-actively promote divorce.
3) Prenups only benefit the wealthier spouse. A common misconception about prenups is that they only protect the wealthier spouse while leaving the lower-earning spouse high and dry. This is not necessarily true for many reasons. One reason this is untrue is because in order to increase the likelihood that a prenup will be fully enforceable, both parties are required to be represented by an independent attorney of his/her own choosing. Both parties having legal representation ensures that neither party gets screwed, for lack of a better term.
Rather than leave it up to chance, the attorney for the lower-earning person can suggest or draft provisions for the prenup that ensure that the lower-earning person is financially protected/provided-for in the unfortunate event of a separation and divorce. When we represent the lower-earning party, it is common for our Firm to include provisions in the prenup wherein he/she will receive some form of spousal support for a period of time should the couple separate or divorce.
Agreeing to temporary spousal support or assignment of assets to the lower-earning spouse - ahead of time in the prenup - is often much preferred over dragging each other to court and fighting each other tooth-and-nail. If spousal support is already provided for in the prenup, both persons will have the assurance that there won't be the costs and drama of going to court if their relationship goes south and a divorce becomes necessary.
If you have any other questions or if you'd like to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can draft or review a prenuptial agreement for you, do not hesitate to call us at (888) 666-0794. You can also email us or schedule a free initial consultation on our home page.
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