A prenup or a prenuptial agreement is an agreement made between two partners before they get married. The prenup explains how their assets would be divided if the marriage ends in a divorce.
The laws of one state varies from another and hence many couples choose a state with laws that favor them. A question that comes up is whether prenups actually increase divorces among couples?
It is like asking if getting vehicle insurance increases accidents. Prenups do not increase divorce, as they only ensure clarity on what would happen in the eventuality of a divorce.
Before looking into the correlation between prenup and divorce, it is important to look at the statistics about prenups.
More and more people are interested in prenups. A study showed that 44% of people felt that it would be a good idea to sign a prenup before getting married.
The study also showed the three reasons why couples are entering into prenups:
- To protect their individual assets.
- To divide their marital assets in the event of a divorce.
- To bring clarity on alimony in the event of a divorce.
An older study had a different finding. 62% of those surveyed felt that signing a prenup was negative. It signaled a negative intention about the marriage and many women were against it.
The reality is that not more than 10% of couples marrying enter into a prenup. Though people are aware of prenups and their benefits, most of them are not entering into prenups.
The situation is a bit different in the UK, where prenups are popular. 20% of couples or 1 in 5 marriages have prenups. The respondents also felt that a prenup neither increased nor reduced the chances of a divorce.
Would you marry a man who wants a prenup?
This is an important question that most people, especially women would ask themselves. If the person you are marrying asks you to sign a prenup, would you sign it? Would you still go ahead with the marriage?
There is no standard answer to this question. It ultimately depends on you. You need to evaluate the pros and cons of prenups before taking a call.
The pros of prenups are:
- A prenup ensures couples discuss money matters. This can help to smoothen their relationship avoiding finance-related clashes later.
- If a divorce does occur, the costs would reduce and there would be no acrimony.
- Both the parties would be clear about what would happen in the eventuality of a divorce. They can decide their future and not depend on lawyers.
- Talking about a prenup in advance can actually strengthen the marriage since uncomfortable issues have been dealt with in advance.
The cons of prenups are:
- A prenup can end up favoring one spouse. The common perception is that it is unfair for the wife.
- Making an agreement about divorce before the marriage introduces a negative element into the marriage. It does not look like a good way to start a relationship.
- It is definitely not romantic to talk about an agreement before a marriage.
Having gone through the pros and cons, you can decide what to do. Here are some tips you can keep in mind before you go ahead:
- The first thing to do is to talk with your future spouse. Find out what is in their mind and why they want a prenup.
- Go through the terms of the prenup to check if it fair.
- Discuss whether a prenup is really needed. Would your future spouse break the marriage if you refuse to sign?
- If you are not mentally prepared to sign a prenup, make it clear.
- If you decide to go ahead, then get it scrutinized by a lawyer or someone with the right knowledge who you trust.
Prenup ruined my relationship
Imagine a situation where you are happy that you found the perfect partner. As you plan your marriage, your partner places an agreement on the table and asks you to sign on it.
This situation is definitely not a romantic one and make you lose it. If you do not like the idea of a prenup, then being forced into it can leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
There is no doubt that being forced into a prenup can ruin your relationship. There have been many instances where people broke off the relationship because of the prenup.
If you have had a discussion about prenup even before talking about marriage, then you would be mentally prepared for it. If you also favor a prenup to protect your interests, then the situation becomes easier.
However, if you are forced into the situation it can be a problem. A prenup is essentially a contract. It is like imposing commercial terms in a relationship between two hearts.
A worse situation is when you start wrangling on the terms of the agreement. If you believe the terms are not in your favor, it could lead to a major argument with your future spouse.
Heated discussions about division of assets can be a relationship-killed. You are starting the relationship on a bitter note. The rancor may affect your relationship after marriage.
Once you sign a prenup, then you are committed to it. It is not only you, but your partner too who is now committed.
You cannot back out from a prenup agreement after signing it. In many cases, a person would have signed the prenup after taking a cursory glance at it or without understanding its ramifications.
Later on, someone would have pointed out how the agreement is not in their favor. By then, it would be too late because the prenup and marriage are complete.
Such a situation can lead to discontentment. This will have a direct impact on the marriage as it makes one spouse mistrust the other. It may very well lead to a breach in the relationship.
This is why it is important to study the prenup carefully before signing. Both partners should go through each line of the agreement and understand its implications.
By this, they will ensure there is no scope for regret later. If the prenup is not favorable to you, it is better to rethink the entire relationship rather than regret everything later.
Correlation between prenup and divorce
A major issue that people debate about is the link between prenup and divorce. Does signing a prenup increase the chance of a divorce taking place later?
There is a perception that prenups mostly favor one party (usually the husband). As a result, the party who the prenup favors may try to create a situation where a divorce occurs.
If the prenup is not satisfactorily drafted, it can cause a regret leading to a rift in the relationship. While theoretically this is true, there is not enough evidence to suggest that this is happening.
Most experts are of the opinion that a prenup can actually strengthen the relationship. Since all issues related to money are on the table even before marriage, the chances of disagreements later are reduced.
Go through the frequently asked questions and answers given below. They will help you understand all you want to know about prenups and divorce.
Do more marriages with prenups end in divorce?
There is nothing to indicate that more marriages with prenups cause divorces. In fact, the opposite is likely to be true.
There are lawyers who are on record that clients for whom they drafted prenups continue to be happily married.
What percentage of prenup marriages end in divorce?
There is no sufficient data that can help us compare divorces with prenups and without prenups. In the absence of data, we cannot come to a conclusion in this regard.
Instead, we need to rely on experiences shared by couples who have got married with prenups. We also need to look at information shared by lawyers who have drafted the prenups.
Both indicate that prenups actually help to prevent divorce. It does not mean that there won’t be any divorces.
When there is mistrust and lack of openness in a relationship, divorces can occur. But it is unlikely that divorces are increasing because of the prenuptial agreement.
Is the divorce rate higher with a prenup?
There is nothing to specifically indicate that the divorce rate is higher with a prenup. While there may not be sufficient data available, trends indicate that couples with prenups are less likely to divorce.
Signing a prenup is like taking insurance. If someone is insured, it does not increase the risks. Rather, it reduces the risks.
Signing a prenup ensures better clarity for the couple. So, the chances of divorce are actually reduced.
Are couples with prenups less likely to divorce?
Yes, this is true. A prenup when drafted well with both parties agreeing can help to ensure clarity for a marriage.
The result can be a stronger marriage with less chances of a divorce.