Does a Prenuptial Agreement Hurt Your Marriage, or Help it? (Pt 1)

Is it a good idea to set up a prenup, or a bad one? We look at what the experts say…


When a couple is getting ready to get married, the only thought they tend to give to their furniture is what it’s going to look like when they commingle their homes. Or perhaps, who will give them that particular famed picture or standing lamp they registered for. They’re not thinking about who gets to keep which item if their marriage tanks! Why? Because in-love couples planning weddings aren’t thinking about their possible future divorces.


Those two little words…


The only two words a person wants to hear from their spouse-to-be is “I do”, not “prenuptial agreement.” Yet the fact remains that more than 50% of first marriages these days fail, and alarmingly, more than 70% of second marriages as well. So from that perspective, is a prenup a good idea or a bad one? The answer depends on whom you’re asking…


Some say yes, but only in certain circumstances:


Kathleen Miller, a certified financial planner and divorce financial analyst, says that there are certain situations where she feels that a prenup is absolutely worth it. In an article in the New York Times she says that, “…those who have sizeable wealth, own a business, or are entering into a second marriage with significant personal assets” should get prenups. For everyone else, however, she seems to think that it does more harm than good.


Some say no, no matter what:


According to Laurie Israel, a divorce lawyer and marital mediator from Massachusetts, a prenup has no place in a marriage. “A prenup changes the entire connection and contract of a marriage by taking away one of its major pillars, which is building a secure financial future together.” she says. Israel believes that prenups promote distrust in a relationship, and also don’t take into account the many non-financial contributions, like making the house a home, raising children, or forgoing a career to help a spouse or the family.


Everyone should have financial discussions:


Keep in mind, though, that Miller is hugely in favor of premarital financial discussions, whether or not a couple chooses a prenup. Discussing finances before tying the knot, she says, is critical! Things like bill paying, taxes, pension plans and even short and long-term financial goals should be addressed before getting married. This way there are far fewer nasty financial surprises down the road.


Are you considering a divorce? Do you have a prenup?


If you or a loved one have decided it’s time to end your marriage, we’re here to help you plan for the future. The skilled divorce attorneys in our Lansing offices serve clients all over mid-Michigan and even further afield. They can help you assess what your best options are, make plans for your family, and ensure that you are well prepared for whatever lies ahead. Call us at any time, night or day, at 866 766 5245.