Prenuptial Agreements: A Good Marital Choice, or a Bad One?

Is a prenup a good idea for your marriage, or a bad idea? We ask the experts…


There are many highly charged discussion points that come up when two people decide to join their lives together. However, few of these topics generate such heated discussions as those two little words. You know, the ones that every ready-to-wed couple doesn’t want to hear: Prenuptial Agreement.


Most couples walk down the aisle together with the intention of growing old in each other’s company. The fact is, though, that more than 50% of first marriages these days fail, and alarmingly, more than 70% of second marriages do as well. So while discussing how to divide assets should the marriage fail never sounds like a romantic or loving conversation, from the perspective of statistics, is creating a prenup a good idea? Or a bad one?


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. For example, people who have sizeable wealth before getting married, those who own a business, and those who are entering into a second marriage with significant personal assets.”


But whether or not a couple chooses a prenup, Miller says that discussing finances before tying the knot is imperative. In an  article she wrote for the New York Times, Miller points out that 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.


For some, a prenup is simply a logical choice.


Since so many couples cite financial conflict as reasons for divorce, why not take the time to strengthen a marriage with a prenup that protects the marital future from additional stressors. However, there are those who feel that this is an overly simplistic view that doesn’t account for the emotional aspects involved.


According to W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, says that prenups indicate a selfishness before the marriage even begins. In a separate article, also written for the NYT, Wilcox points out why prenups aren’t for people who want a real marriage. “Marriage is about establishing a common life together, about putting someone else ahead of yourself, and sharing the things that mean the most to you, including your money...If you take this other-centered approach to marriage, you’re not only less likely to divorce, but also to enjoy a happier relationship.”


There is technically no right or wrong answer to this dilemma, but it certainly bears thinking about before you say “I do”. Those who advocate for the prenuptial agreements have some very valid points. After all, doesn’t it make sense to discuss all of the important issues that will be affected by marriage with your future spouse? People discuss whether or not they want to have children, and what their goals are for the future, why not raise the issue of financial concerns?


However, those who don’t agree aren’t completely groundless in their arguments. Ultimately marriage is intended to be a contract of trust. If a couple needs a supplementary contract to insure that they don’t end up stealing from each other later in life, should they even be getting married in the first place? These are hard subjects to talk about, and even harder choices to make.
Whatever your choice, make sure that you consider all aspects from both sides of the argument before making a decision. This subject can be very prickly and you will need to take into account your specific life circumstances, and decide what is best for your marriage and your future.  Should you decide to get a prenuptial agreement before getting married in Michigan, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable Family Law attorneys for help. We are available around the clock at 517 886 1000.


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