I determined long ago that a prenuptial agreement, for me, is a choice to focus on the future financial well-being for both partners during less than amicable split-ups. The many valid reasons for a prenuptial agreement, according to Prenuptial Agreements.org, can map a method to protect one’s financial strengths or financial weaknesses with insurance against marital bliss catastrophe.
On Legal Zoom.com you can find that prenuptials can protect items ranging from property rights and financial obligations to personal rights and freedoms. One common use of prenuptials is for financial and property protections, according to a 2010 Harris Interactive poll conducted for USA Today. I had one asset that I considered a possible candidate for a prenup. My family has owned land, where I live, for more than 150 years. My grandfather requested that it never be sold outside the family. I consider this a valid prenup item.
What’s not protected
According to the same Legal Zoom page above, one main item that a prenup can’t address adequately is child support. In most states the court systems already have in place somewhat sound methods for determining and allocating child support. There are other items that cannot be protected that include anything illegal or that violates individual state policy. Any pertinent information that is withheld during prenup negotiations can potentially be used to invalidate all or part of the agreement. Remember to disclose everything, whether you believe it is significant or not.
As insurance against future potential marital splits, I believe prenups may be as good as or better than fire insurance. Neither party in a relationship, that I am aware of, wishes to lose everything. The agreement can be as good a safety net for the financially weaker partner as it is for the one wishing to protect the most assets. In my experience, couples are much more reasonable when engaged than when going through a nasty divorce.
In the hands of a manipulative or controlling partner, the prenup could become, at some point, a very harsh weapon in a relationship. In some societies, due to custom and law, prenups may become a tool of exploitation or even a means to strike out at a spouse during a bitter divorce, according to the Center for Women’s Justice. I believe a prenuptial agreement should be between two people with their hearts and eyes wide open. I would sign a prenup.