Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are becoming more common as couples of all ages and income levels continue to join in holy matrimony. According to a survey of divorce attorneys carried out by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2013, 63% of respondents said that they had witnessed an increase in the number of prenuptial agreements drawn up. The three most commonly covered areas were:
- Protection of separately owned property
- Division of marital property
- Spousal support
Prenups can prevent future litigation and eliminate financial uncertainties, but they still carry negative connotations due to the number of myths that abound. One New York Times article was actually titled “If You Want a Prenup, You Don’t Want Marriage.” Below is a list of 4 of the most common myths and why they are invalid.
Myth No.1: Prenuptial agreements are only for the rich
The truth is that prenuptial agreements are appropriate for any couple. They are not merely about protecting wealth: prenups allow future spouses to decide the resolution of any problems in advance, which can prevent misunderstandings and expensive litigation. Drafting a prenup can actually deepen an upcoming marriage because it requires an honest discussion about assets and finances. By the time you’re at the altar, everything is out in the open between you and you may be closer as a result.
Myth No. 2: Prenuptial agreements only benefit the wealthier partner
This is a powerful myth: that a prenup is simply a way of stripping the spouse with fewer assets of his or her future rights. The reality is that unfair, one-sided prenuptial agreements are often thrown out in court. In Michigan, a prenup is only enforceable if it is fair, equitable, and reasonable under the circumstances.
Myth No. 3: Prenuptial agreements are not enforceable
There are times when courts do not enforce a prenuptial agreement, but this tends to be when the contract is unfair or the state rules and guidelines concerning the preparation of prenups are not followed. Another common reason why agreements are “thrown out of court” is because one spouse coerced or threatened the other into signing.
Myth No. 4: Premarital agreements “kill the romance”
It’s true that drafting a prenup is not the most romantic pre-wedding venture, but it doesn’t have to be the cloud behind your silver lining. When you and your future spouse work together to discuss and agree on the agreement’s terms, it can actually strengthen your relationship. Financial discussions will inevitably arise during the course of the marriage, and the prenup formation can help you master the art of discussing a challenging subject while remaining calm and respectful.
A fair and carefully crafted prenuptial agreement can strengthen your relationship, prepare you for the serious conversations that married couples have, and safeguard your respective financial futures. For assistance in drawing up a prenup that meets the needs of both parties, call Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC today.
~Originally Posted in January 2017~