Prenuptial agreements are a rather awkward topic of conversation to bring up over dinner! On the one hand, many people think that they should have a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, they may be embarrassed to bring the topic up. After all, they love their partner unconditionally, and they are happily under the impression that the feeling is mutual!
That being said because you love and trust your partner, that also means that your partner should have no objection to signing such an agreement. After all, if they don’t plan on leaving you, what does it matter?
Reasons You Should Get Prenuptial Agreements
Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Prenuptial Agreements bring up issues of trust, and issues of finance, both of which can be extremely sensitive topics in any relationship. When you just want to focus on being in that “honeymoon stage” of your relationship, it is disheartening to have to treat your marriage like a business decision!
But with all that said, it also CAN be a very good idea. And far from meaning that you trust your partner less, it means that you respect them enough to have an honest and frank discussion with them and to acknowledge the possibility of things going wrong. It can help protect children from prior relationships and it also helps set expectations of what life after marriage might look like if things go south.
Why You Should Rethink Having That Conversation
Divorce is one of those things people don’t like to think about. But just like early death, debt, or bad health, ignoring divorce won’t make the problem go away.
The good news is that divorce rates are getting lower. Whereas one in every two marriages once ended in divorce, millennials are actually taking longer to get married and are staying married longer, making it through the first decade (the “prime divorcing years”). Current divorce rates now show that most marriages will not end in divorce. *(See Time 11/26/2018 article by Belinda Luscombe, The Divorce Rate is Dropping. That May Not Actually Be Good News.).
But there is STILL a very high proportion of people getting divorced. Approximately 39% of U.S. marriages will end in divorce.* Put it this way: would you get on a plane if you knew it had a 39% chance of crashing? Thought not! If you did still decide to get on that plane, you would bring a parachute. And that is what the prenuptial agreement actually is: a parachute! None of those people thought that their marriage would end in divorce. And yet theirs did!
It is simply naïve to think that you and your partner are somehow immune to the problems that those people all faced. And here’s another fact that might surprise you: it turns out that a lot of those millennials actually got prenuptial agreements! More people are getting those agreements and more marriages are lasting.
Coincidence? Probably not!
It turns out that when you know your partner loves you so much that they’re happy to sign away profit if the marriage goes south… that can be good for a marriage!
It turns out that having a frank and serious discussion about your relationship – where you acknowledge the possibility of things changing – can be good for a marriage. So, when you look at it this way, it suggests that either premarital arrangements are helping to prevent divorce, or they simply correlate with a lower divorce rate. Either way, it’s a great argument.
You Just Never Know
The thing to remember is that you NEVER can be sure what’s around the corner. This is something that many people once again refuse to acknowledge. They want to believe that their relationship is different and special… perhaps it is! But you can never be sure what is around the corner. People change. Even those who have wholly good intentions, who are the most loyal and loving… can sometimes make mistakes that there are no coming back from.
And even if your partner doesn’t change through normal means – you never know if your circumstances might change. Or if they might be changed by outside factors. This doesn’t have to mean that the break up is anyone’s fault. This is not one person telling another that they don’t trust them. It’s two people acknowledging that sometimes things change.
You don’t get insurance because you think that something is going to happen. You get insurance because you can’t afford not to have it.
Prenuptial Agreements Protecting You Both
Can you afford not to have a premarital agreement? If things go wrong, what difference will this make? The answer is that this piece of paper can make ALL the difference. And again, it’s not about protecting one person at the expense of the other. Rather, it is about making sure that you are both protected and both have an understanding. It’s about protecting the memory of your relationship, and it’s about protecting your children, especially if either spouse has children from a prior relationship.
What many people don’t realize is that a lot of divorces start rather amicably. Many people just find they fall out of love, and in order to be the happiest versions of themselves… they need to move on.
The problems then come when they begin the divorce proceedings. This is when those same two people find that the other spouse’s expectation of what is a fair division is not the same as theirs. When they discover that they can’t come to an arrangement, that is when things start to turn bitter, and it’s when the knives come out. This is also when children end up getting hurt, and it’s when both parties end up losing things that matter to them.
It turns ugly in other words, and a huge amount of money is spent on lawyers, just as a huge amount of energy is spent fighting one another. This is where a premarital agreement could have saved everyone a huge amount of pain and trouble. When you think about it this way, there is very little reason not to get a premarital agreement and a whole lot of very good reasons that you should.
The only thing that is likely stopping you from doing this – from helping you both to feel more secure and potentially preventing serious and destructive arguments down the line – is the fact that the conversation is awkward. There will be many more awkward conversations in your marriage – trust me. This is a great way to ease yourself in!
Lastly, a prenuptial agreement can help a marriage before it starts. Being upfront about your financial expectations from the other spouse can save you from fights down the road and more happiness and confidence when saying “I do.”
Law Office of Julie Fowler, PC, LLO | Divorce Lawyers Omaha
Child Custody | Child Support | Divorce Lawyers Omaha
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