5th Oct 2012
A young man went to his future father-in-law to ask for the hand of his daughter in marriage.
“Yes,” the old man chuckled, “and you can even have the rest that goes with her hand.”
The anecdote above just illustrates one cold reality about marriage. It is not just two people falling in love; it’s also about the couple sharing their properties or assets. This doesn’t seem stark clear before the wedding date when the couple is so muchin love with each other. But with the rate of divorce being so high these days, it is now common for prospective couples to work out an agreement on how they should split up their properties should their marriage fall apart. This agreement is called a prenuptial agreement.
But even with a prenuptial agreement, things can still turn awry when a couple’s marriage turns sour. So, what can a couple do to come up with a workable “prenup?” Here are a few tips:
First of all, give yourselves a long time to prepare the “prenup.” Ideally, one year to six months before your wedding date is a good period. The reason is simple: your “prenup” preparations shouldn’t conflict with your wedding preparations. With that much allowance, you and your prospective spouse can be more level-headed about the whole thing.
Second, get love out of the picture. Yes, you read it right: Get love out of the picture. In other words, even as the two of you are so in love, you are talking dollars and cents here. Both of you may think that you will be together forever. Still, you have to think, “What if?” What if the marriage doesn’t work? It’s like getting an insurance policy. Nobody wants to think about deaths or accidents but … what if?It pays to be prepared. And that’s what a “prenup” is all about: being prepared just in case the marriage doesn’t work out.
Third, make sure that the prenuptial agreement can be enforced. In other words, make it clear enough that each of you will know what he or she is getting should your marriage fail. Don’t put too many conditions such as what happens when one partner cheats on another. Such conditions will only put roadblocks on enforcing your prenuptial if the time should ever come. So, make your “prenup” enforceable.
Finally, get a good lawyer to help you with the “prenup.” You have to realize that marriage laws vary from state to state. And even the laws within one state can be confusing. It’s not for non-lawyers to dabble in. Laws sound Greek to non-lawyers, but make perfect sense to attorneys. Hence, a they can help you make sense out of the cacophony of state laws.
Now, you are prepared to have a good “prenup” – and perhaps a great nuptial.