She Gon' Leave With Half: 4 Reasons Young Couples Are Getting Prenups

by Roxana Maddahi

Couples don’t get married with the intention of breaking up.

They enter a marriage planning to spend their lives together.

With that being said, it is very difficult to spend time during an engagement discussing the “what ifs” of divorce.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that the divorce rate in the United States is between 40 and 50 percent.

While we all strive to find "happily ever after," just like anything else in life, marriage is not certain.

A prenup can serve as an insurance policy against the worst-case scenario.

Just like with any type of insurance, if the worst that could happen does indeed happen, it will help to protect you.

People do not buy their homes assuming they will fall apart, but they buy homeowner's insurance for the worst-case scenario.

Healthy people still buy life insurance.

Below are four reasons why prenuptial agreements make sense for almost everyone:

1. Prenups force you to have the money conversation.

Almost 70 percent of engaged couples do not want to discuss money because they feel it will lead to a fight.

Furthermore, 70 percent of divorces are related to monetary issues.

Based on these statistics, money is the conversation everyone is trying to avoid, but should be having.

More fights in marriages occur over failed expectations regarding money than anything else.

A prenup forces you to have a clear, straightforward conversation before you get married.

You would have to discuss how much money you are both bringing into the relationship, how much you stand to inherit, what your debts are and what your financial goals are.

This conversation will help you understand your own as well as your partner's view on money.

Religions and cultures encourage talking about finances before marriage.

Some of the main topics in a Catholic church Pre-Cana class are matters of money and personal finances.

In Persian culture, a Baleh-boran is a meeting where the families of the prospective bride and groom discuss the future marriage and, specifically, financial matters.

2. Prenups can be win-win.

It is widely believed that prenups protect the party that enters the marriage with the most money, and therefore, it will leave the other party with nothing.

This is not the case.

Prenups can be customized and negotiated for each unique situation, and they can leave both parties in a better situation than they would have otherwise been in.

Divorce is hardly considered a win, but preventing massive fights, court proceedings, legal fees and emotional trauma is a step in the right direction.

In divorce proceedings that occur without a prenup, you are obligated to distribute the wealth however the court decides.

The judge — a stranger — decides how much money you give to or get from your ex.

For example, imagine a relationship where the wife has substantial family wealth and the husband has none.

One way to set up the prenup would be to limit the husband’s claim on the wife's family assets to a certain dollar amount.

This is good for the husband, who could negotiate a dollar amount, and it's also good for the wife and her family because it limits liability.

3. Prenups are negotiated during times of peace and love.

Engaged couples are in a progressive mode.

They want to do anything they can to make the relationships work and keep their partners happy.

During divorce, couples can fall into destructive mode.

We all want to believe we can separate our logical selves from our emotional selves.

However, even the strongest people can make irrational decisions when their emotions are heightened enough.

The effect of divorce on the human personality can make both parties unrecognizable to themselves and each other.

They are hurt, disappointed by failed expectations and often angry.

Mid-divorce is the worst time to make logical decisions regarding money.

4. Prenups are not just for rich people.

Prenups are not just for people with astronomical wealth.

A prenup can protect even the smallest savings accounts, and they can also protect against the limitless worth of future investments.

Many people enter marriages at early stages in their careers.

The median marriage age is 27 for women and 29 for men, while careers are believed to peak at age 35.

It is important that there is a clear, written outline before marriage about the entitlements of money as it grows.

Imagine a couple in which a husband is getting an MBA, while the wife is working for those two years in order to support the family.

The husband then goes off to use his education to start a highly successful business.

Without her hard work in the years he was in school, he would not have been able to go back to school, achieve the education he did and start such a successful business.

In a prenup, the couple can actually specify how much of the future earning the wife is owed, and for how long.

The husband can protect himself as well, by putting time, dollar or percentage limits on what he would owe.

However uncomfortable the conversation and unpleasant the process, a prenup can be a great source of protection and stability in a time that is likely unstable and sad.

The unpleasant moments are actually very healthy for your relationship, and they can strengthen it by forcing you to have inevitable conversations early on.

Prenups can be customized to suit the individual needs of the couple, making them a lot more flexible than the “one size fits all” mentality that would be the alternative.