Many people think that attorneys who tell a newly engaged person they should look into prenuptial agreement are only in it to get more billable hours and make some money. While this may be true for some, it is not why I tell couples to consider the agreement.
As a divorce attorney I see the worst. I see people devastated that their forever is ending after 3, 7, or 11 years. This person that vowed to spend the rest of their life with is now someone they no longer recognize. They want them out of their home, they want half of their retirement, they have cleaned out bank accounts, and to top it all off they are taking the dog too. They want to make sure they are left devastated emotionally and financially.
There is a reason that they say there is a thin a line between love and hate. Divorce brings out the worst in people. Divorce is emotional and when you are emotional you don’t care about being fair or only taking what you came into the marriage with. You are hurt, bitter, angry, and depressed. You want revenge. Your spouse wants you to feel as bad as they do. Now of course not every divorce is this ugly, but many are, more than you might think.
What most people don’t realize is that when you get married you are already entering a prenuptial agreement of sorts– the divorce laws of your state. If your marriage ends the law will determine how your property is divided. That usually means long, drawn out, and may I add expensive litigation. The court system is adversarial. It sets you up to fight; and some people like to fight dirty. A prenup can keep it a fair.
A prenup is just like any other type of insurance. You get it just in case; just case you get in a car accident, just in case you get sick, just in case your marriage fails. It doesn’t increase your chances of failure any more than getting dental insurance increases your chances of getting a cavity. Talking about these financial issues before you get married is a good thing, especially considering that finances is one of the main reasons for divorce.
You can’t predict people’s behavior, especially when they are hurt. Your forever may only last a few years, protect yourself. Get a prenup.