Ah, the prenup.
If there is a family law tool that is unanimously lauded and routinely eyed by marrying couples eager to “put things in writing” prior to exchanging marital vows, well – it’s not a premarital contract.
In fact (and as most readers of this longstanding family law blog know well), prenuptial agreements continue to have – despite their existence for decades – a bit of an enduring image problem for many soon-to-be-married partners considering them.
The complaints are both repetitive and time-worn. Prenups cool romantic ardor. They promote negativity rather than upside at the onset of a new union. They force discussion into a tense-laden realm it otherwise wouldn’t go.
One authoritative and long-established Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia legal source readily concedes the image challenges that prenuptial contracts can face. It underscores that prenups can “strain marriages before they get off the ground.”
It also notes, though, that a prenup can be the ideal legal instrument for protecting assets and otherwise promoting the interests of a party – indeed, both spouses – in the event a marriage fails. Above all else, a prenuptial agreement commands strong utility and features clarity at a time when both are sorely needed.
An upside take on a prenup’s role as marriage insurance
When it comes to marital contracts, call Erin Lowry a fan. In fact, Lowry – who is a financial commentator and author – is an unabashed enthusiast who flatly endorses the timely contemplation and linked execution of a prenup for couples on the cusp of marriage.
The D.C. area and northern Virginia are of course replete with those. The vast metro region is home to a young, professional and relatively affluent demographic unrivaled in all but a select few other parts of the country.
Lowry has this recommendation for that upwardly mobile demographic: Look at prenups dispassionately, while focusing on what they really are, namely, “a plan for divvying up assets in a fair and equitable way.”
Executing a prenuptial contract doesn’t trigger certain divorce down the road. Lowry notes that it actually plays a centrally salutary way in helping ensure that a couple is adequately prepared “in case the unexpected and undesired happens.”
Life is uncertain. A marital contract comprehensively discussed and executed in good faith can promote peace of mind regarding the future.