In our society, prenuptial agreements are still considered something of a taboo. Ironic, since getting divorced is commonplace these days (we’ve all heard the phrase, “50% of marriages end in divorce,” and although that statistic isn’t exactly correct in 2019—the figure is somewhat lower—the sentiment still stands).
In my experience as a divorce attorney, when a couple is divorcing without a prenuptial agreement (which is most often the case), things can go south quickly. When there’s no agreement in place, couples have the potential to fight viciously, especially if they’re motivated by strong emotions like anger, betrayal, and/or resentment.
However, in the rarer scenarios where divorcing couples come to me with a prenuptial agreement in place, the process is faster, more affordable for them, and less emotional.
Why wouldn’t we all want that best-case outcome in the worst-case scenario of divorce?
A Prenuptial Agreement Eliminates Confusion
As I mentioned in my last blog post I wrote about how simply going through the process of creating a prenuptial agreement with your partner will eliminate any misconceptions about debts and assets. For example, if one partner is entering the marriage with significant debt and expects the other partner to foot the bill, the prenup will clarify if that this is not the case.
The prenup educates both partners so there is no confusion… and so frequently the most challenging and emotional divorce cases I see are fueled by confusion that leads to upset and retaliation.
A Prenuptial Agreement (May) Eliminate Emotional Retaliation
I recently read that the pop star Miley Cyrus is getting divorced from her new husband, Liam Hemsworth. This isn’t the kind of news I normally follow, but it is relevant to this conversation for one reason: the divorce is apparently going very smoothly and quickly because the two stars had “an iron-clad pre-nup” created when they got married.
This is a perfect example of how helpful a prenuptial agreement can be in a precarious situation. Miley was seen publicly with a new girlfriend around the time she and her husband announced their split, and people have speculated as to whether the divorce is due to infidelity. [To be fair to her, she’s denied it.]
It would be natural for Miley’s husband to feel betrayed, insulted, embarrassed, or any other combination of strong negative emotions—and he likely did. But rather than try to take out his anger on her by “taking her for everything she’s got” in Court, he knows that they’ve already agreed on what their divorce will look like.
Now, we’ll never know exactly what happened between them, but one can guess that the emotional wind was taken out of his sails thanks to the prenuptial agreement, saving both of them time, money and heartache.
A Prenuptial Agreement Will Protect Your Assets
Finally, the most basic and obvious reason to get a prenuptial agreement is to protect your important assets from being divided in a way that you don’t agree with when and if you get divorced.
In sum, I always recommend that marrying couples take the time to set up a prenuptial agreement while things are going well and they’re getting along. If nothing else, it’s worth it to save yourself the trouble of a painful, drawn-out and expensive divorce process.
And, keep in mind that if you are already married, it’s not too late: you always have the option to put a postnuptial agreement in place.
If you would like more information or assistance in this process, call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.