Valentine's Day is coming up, and you may already be thinking about popping the question, or perhaps you are engaged and wondering what to give your soon-be-be-spouse. Why not consider a prenuptial agreement or "prenup"? Maybe it is not as idyllic as picking out wedding décor, but a prenup is one of the best marriage-related decisions you will ever have the opportunity to make.
A prenup is a financial document that allocates money between parties in case of divorce, which, unfortunately, is always a possibility given none of us, including myself (once divorced), can foresee, even under the best of circumstances. Nora Ephron said it best: "Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever."
That said, in no way does getting a prenuptial agreement signal an intention to divorce. But it does indicate a realistic understanding that marriages don't always stand the test of time.
Here are a few reasons why you should think about getting one before tying the knot, maybe even gift one this Valentine's Day. As you will see, prenups are more romantic than you think.
Divorce statistics continue to indicate a prenuptial agreement is wise.
Despite the divorce rate reaching its lowest point in about 40 years (the marriage rate, too, has dropped to its lowest point in 150 years), the fact remains that many marriages continue to end in divorce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 45 states reporting plus the District of Columbia, the divorce rate was 2.9 percent per 1,000 people in 2019.
Though that number may not seem high, the statistic nonetheless represents 782,038 divorces in one year alone. That leaves a lot of folks asking themselves: Now, what do we do?
Couples who got a prenuptial agreement before marriage already have many of the answers. That makes the prospect of a divorce much less daunting and easier to bear. Not to mention quicker and a lot less expensive.
Who gets a prenup?
Contrary to popular belief and the Kanye West "gold digger" mantra, prenups are not just for wealthy men seeking to protect their assets from gold-digging women (as the stereotype would have you to believe). Prenups are for everyone.
Prenups are especially important if you have amassed financial assets before your marriage that would then be subject to division in the case of divorce. Do you already own a home? Would you want 50 percent of that house's equity to go to your spouse in a divorce? Even if you had used all of your funds from before your marriage to purchase it?
Maybe not. A prenuptial agreement could prevent such a scenario from happening, as well as many others. The beauty of a prenup is that you get to choose, in advance, what you would like to protect, which can be anything from assets to time with your future children if you have any.
Can a prenup divorce-proof your marriage?
It seems likely that prenups can lay the foundation for a healthier and more transparent marriage. If you are both on the same page about what would happen to your finances in the case of divorce, it is an indication you will have better communication about finances during your marriage, too. Better communication leads to better romance and a stronger relationship overall.
Though a prenuptial agreement cannot divorce-proof your marriage, it is the ultimate assurance that you and your future spouse are entering marriage for the right reasons, with a clear understanding of each other's past and present financial situation. And that is more romantic — and enduring — than a heart-shaped box of chocolates or flowers could ever be.