Prenups: Why They Can Strengthen Your Marriage Before it Begins
Prenups get a bad rap. When I tell people that I do franchising, small business, and prenups, most are interested in chatting about the prenups: "wow, that must be so juicy!" It's as if a prenuptial agreement is a sordid arrangement for wealthy celebrity-types who plan to betray one another, tabloid-style. If that was the truth about prenups, then I would have no part in drafting them! To those curious about prenuptial agreements, I explain that they are really just like any other business contract--they lay out the expectations of the relationship before there is a problem. Isn't this the heart of any contract between two parties?
One reason that I draft prenuptial agreements although I'm primarily a small business and franchise attorney is because a prenup forces couples to have very important conversations about their future together prior to getting married. Marriage, after all, is full of uncomfortable and difficult conversations. While it's true that not all of those conversations can be memorialized into a contract, one very important conversation can be: finances. A prenuptial agreement need not necessarily be about finances, but for the most part, they are. For better or worse, financial issues in a marriage are one of the leading causes of strife and stress, so it makes sense that if a couple can agree on some very important terms about how they will spend their money, what debt is being brought into the marriage, and what were to happen if one of the parties comes into a windfall prior to the marriage, then the marriage itself is stronger before it even starts.
Look at it this way, if a couple feels uncomfortable discussing the nuances of their finances--student debts, credit card debts, inheritances, and investments--prior to marriage, then that conversation likely will not become any more comfortable once the ceremony is over. Talking through these things in a mature and professional way with a prenup attorney is healthy for the relationship because it sets expectations before the commitment of marriage takes place. If communication is key to a healthy marriage, then it makes sense that communication about the intricacies of the marriage is not only healthy, but helpful. I'd argue that if a couple can't agree on the basics of financial responsibilities in the marriage before they are actually wed, then the conversations won't get any easier in the future. Just like a form of premarital counseling, sitting down with your spouse-to-be to discuss some stickier financial issues prior to marriage can help strengthen the marriage long-term.
A good prenuptial agreement attorney understands that a prenuptial agreement is a smart way for couples to discuss and plan out their future together. This isn't an awkward or uncomfortable conversation, it's a smart one.
If you and your partner are considering a prenuptial agreement, feel free to reach out to see how we can help.