Articles Posted in Premarital Agreements

As I often explain to clients, it is far easier to get married than to get divorced. As probably the most common and incredibly complex contracts that a party can enter into, why is there no requirement for acknowledgement of the laws, obligations, and responsibilities? Why is there no arbitration or mediation clause?

It would be enormously helpful to prospective marriage partners to be informed about the financial and other considerations of the contract they are entering that is commonly referred to as marriage. Many married couples don’t understand that retirement plans and other assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are community property. Debt assumed during the marriage – even if in one party’s name – is a community obligation. If one party works and the other does not, the earners sometimes think their earnings are theirs alone.

There is insufficient basic information about the contractual rights and obligations that should be understood and agreed to before marriage. This information would resolve many problems if and when the marriage fails. And a standard arbitration or mediation clause that is typically found in most all other contracts would, in the event of marital breakdown, be the first step in an out of court process that would save the courts, and most couples, a great deal of time, energy and money. 

To most couples planning to marry, marriage is a loving commitment between two people who want to share the rest of their lives. Under the law, however, marriage is a contract between two people … not a contract about love, but a contract about the legal and financial rights and obligations of marriage.

It isn’t easy to discuss marriage as if it were a business, but when considering a premarital (or prenuptial) agreement, that is precisely the right approach. A premarital agreement isn’t a predetermined exit plan and neither does it reflect a lack of faith in the relationship. It simply protects against unfortunate future circumstances that can, and frequently do, happen and is a most worthwhile effort to address the legal and financial issues of the marital contract.

The following suggestions may help you and your future spouse have a constructive conversation about what kind of premarital agreement would be right for your marriage and your relationship, as well as the role of money in your lives together, and if done right such a conversation can ultimately be more helpful in securing a strong foundation for the marriage than it’s actual, intended use.

Contact Information