Are Prenups Good For Your Marriage, Or Bad For It?

Bride holding bouquet and signing pre nup
Signing a prenup before you get married may be one of the most important documents you ever sign!

There are many highly charged discussion points that come up when two people decide to join their lives together. Few of them, however, generate such heated discussions as those two little words… You know which ones we mean – the ones that almost 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. But the fact is that more than 50% of first marriages these days fail, and alarmingly, more than 70% of second marriages do as well. So from that perspective, is a “prenup” a good idea or a bad one? The answer depends on whom you’re asking…

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.

According to Laurie Israel, a divorce lawyer and marital mediator, 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.

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 imperative. 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.

Having a prenup usually makes the divorce process SO MUCH easier…

As experienced family law attorneys, we’ve helped MANY people through divorces where there was no prenuptial agreement. In each and every one of those cases we’ve wished the couple had taken the time to create one. Having a prenuptial agreement, in almost every divorce, reduces fighting, establishes reasonable expectations, and helps to make the division of assets and debt much easier.

One problem here in Michigan, is that prenuptial agreements are in a state of legal limbo as of now. This is because the appellate courts are sending mixed signals about how, and even if they can be enforced. However, one thing is certain. A prenuptial agreement must be properly drafted to have any chance of it being enforced.

If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “Me and my sweetie pie don’t need a prenup because we’re in love and we’ll never get divorced!”, please know that every person we’ve helped with their divorce felt the same way at one point. Especially the ones with no prenup. And we can’t begin to tell you how often we’ve heard the words, “I didn’t think we’d need one! I never planned to get divorced! If only I’d known….

So if you’re thinking about getting married, then we completely understand that you probably aren’t’ thinking about divorce. However, reality being what it is, you need to know that more than half of marriages end in divorce, so (on the off chance that yours is one of them) wouldn’t it make more sense to be prepared? You know the saying, “better safe than sorry”? Well, we couldn’t agree more!

If you or a loved one have decided that it’s time to end your marriage, we are here to help you plan for the future. The skilled divorce attorneys in our Farmington Hills office serve all Oakland County and Macomb County clients. 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.