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Prenuptial Agreements Can Lessen Strain for Some Florida Couples
While virtually half of all American marriages end in divorce, only about five percent of couples heading to the altar or the courthouse do so having executed a prenuptial agreement (“prenup”).
Two reasons are often given for avoiding these agreements. First, many couples think that by “negotiating” a prenup, the couple is planning to fail. The second reason is that many couples think that divorce is what happens to other people, “not us.”
Are couples who sign prenuptial agreements more likely to divorce later? The answer might surprise you.
Prenuptial Agreements Are Not a Strong Predictor of Later Divorce
According to a recent survey of 105 mental health professionals, there are indeed some strong predictors of divorce:
An earlier divorce – 58 percent of the experts agreed that persons who have an earlier divorce are more likely to become divorced again.
Cold feet – 80 percent agreed that pre-wedding cold feet – particularly among brides – is a strong predictor of a later divorce.
Yet, 86 percent of the professionals agreed that a prenuptial agreement has no predictable impact on the failure rate of a marriage. Those mental health professionals say that it isn’t the prenup that leads to divorce; it’s due to other factors. They say that the top three causes of divorce are:
Failing to give “the marriage” a high enough priority
Prenups Aren’t For Everyone
A prenuptial agreement should solve potential problems, not create them. Some experts joke that many couples in their mid-20s have only their love and college loans to share. Where there are no significant family assets coming into the marriage, there is less need to worry about a subsequent division.
Some marital counselors argue that there is always the chance that a prenup can alter the chemistry within a committed relationship. Particularly when one prospective spouse raises the subject only days before the wedding, he or she is only asking for trouble.
Others point out that prenups can sometimes fail to take into account a spouse’s nonfinancial contributions to the marital union. The spouse without the advanced degree (and the associated salary) is usually the one who takes primary responsibility for raising children. A prenup can put that nurturing parent at a subsequent disadvantage.
Prenups Can Still Be Very Useful For Many Couples
Prenuptial agreements can be particularly useful in the following situations:
Where one or both spouses bring children into the marriage. Having a clear understanding as to what marital resources will be shared and what other resources are designated for the children can be helpful to the new couple, as they seek to build a home together.
Where one spouse has significant existing business interests, particularly if the interest is in a closely held corporation. In this regard, a small business owner should not only consider having a prenup with his or her spouse, but shareholder or partnership agreements with others in the business.
Should You Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
With prenuptial issues, the very particular circumstances of the couple should be carefully considered. It is important that each prospective spouse be represented by his or her own counsel. Full disclosure of financial information is generally a key component, as courts are reluctant to enforce an agreement where the facts are hidden.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps represents clients throughout central Florida in all aspects of family law. We have more than 50 years of combined experience protecting the rights of individuals as they contemplate marriage and as they go through divorce. We take the time to get to know you, so that we can provide you with individualizedservice.