It’s often sensationalized in the news: Celebrity M and Celebrity W are getting a divorce, and people want to know who’s getting the kids and who’s making out better financially in the split. Sad that this is so captivating to many folks, but people seem to wonder or simply assume that somebody might be getting money out the deal that they didn’t earn.
Well, this type of situation doesn’t just happen with celebrities. With divorce rates so high in the United States, the splitting of marital assets can be a big part of the decoupling process. Money can be a great thing, but it can also be a big point of contention in relationships. However, by getting a prenuptial agreement, some of these issues can be addressed right away.
A big part of this is money that is brought into a relationship. When people get a prenup, it’s often the case that they keep for themselves what they brought into the marriage. Of course, one might want to pay attention to the appropriate laws to determine how commingling assets impacts this. In theory, one might target. That being said, if handled the right way, the intent is often to protect one’s premarital assets in the event that the relationship doesn’t work out.
However, I wonder how prenups impact the efforts of people operating as a true partnership. If a couple is marrying and intending to be husband and wife for the rest of their lives, as responsible for one another, does having money legally separate really fit into this “couples” framework? In other words, are prenups bad for a marriage?
My viewpoint on this – or at least what I could think of as I write this – is that there are 4 reasons to get a prenup:
1) Big difference in net worth. I don’t mean $100,000 versus $30,000. I’m talking about serious differences.
2) Children from a prior relationship. If either or the people have children from a prior relationship that they need to care for, either with support or simply savings, it makes sense to make sure that their needs are protected.
3) A business. If one person owns a business or part of one, it might make sense to have a prenup.
4) Significant debt. If one person has a lot of debt, and the other one doesn’t, it can make sense to have a prenup. It doesn’t seem fair to saddle somebody with debt that they had nothing to do with, at least in the event of a relationship not working out.
To me, these are sensible enough reasons as to why one should consider a prenup, as long as both people agree and nobody is forced into signing one. There could be other reasons, too. Given the high divorce rate in this country, it makes sense to at least consider the odds, as much as we don’t want to think that way. One can consider sources like LegalZoom for a variety of types of information.
However, in most other situations, I’m not a fan of prenups. Unless there is a truly compelling reason, or there are vast differences in the situations of the two people (along the lines of what I noted above), a prenup seems to be an unnecessary negative factor in bring into a marriage.
My Questions for You
What do you think of prenups?
Are you uniformly against them, completely for them, or more situational in your views as I am?