Tag: disappointments

Do prenuptial agreements make a wedding/marriage healthier?

Do prenuptial agreements make a wedding/marriage healthier?

Make? In all cases? No.

Can prenuptial agreements make a wedding and marriage healthier? It is conceivable that some people might find planning for divorce before they have married a comfort to them so that they don’t worry so much about divorce while married because they believe they have already “addressed” that possibility in advance. And if a marriage fails that should fail, then having a prenuptial agreement in place in advance can (can but does not guarantee) help make the divorce process easier, faster, less costly, and less acrimonious.

Do prenuptial agreements generally make a wedding and marriage healthier? In my experience, no. With extremely rare exception, every marriage is going to have its rough patches, and I have found that prenuptial agreements make divorce deceptively easy to contemplate and desire when the going gets rough in marriage, even though divorce is neither necessary nor in either spouse’s (or their children’s) interest.

I have found that prenuptial agreements send the wrong message, and that message is: I don’t see marriage as a lifelong endeavor. I have so little commitment to marriage and so little faith in you and me and our impending marriage that I don’t think we’ll last, and because I feel this way, I want an exit strategy in place now. Who’d want to marry someone like that? Success is meaningless without the risk of failure. You can’t have the benefits of marriage without going all in, without risking having your heart broken. Spouses who are mutually devoted to each other will tell that a loving, supportive marriage is more than worth the effort, the pains, the disappointments, the sacrifices.

Marriage isn’t the problem. It’s marrying without being careful in one’s choice of spouse, without treating marriage as a sacred thing, and without being committed to your spouse’s and your marriage’s success.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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What is a simple truth about divorce that most people ignore?

I hate to write this, but I can’t deny it:

One simple truth about divorce that most people ignore is that the legal system does a pretty lousy job of divorce. I’ve even heard a court commissioner say, in court, “A bad settlement is often better than a good ruling.” This is not an immutable characteristic of the legal system, it’s due to a critical mass of people (not all people in the system, just enough in the system) who work within the system doing a lousy job, particularly (but not exclusively) with child custody.

Another simple truth: the legal system does not care about you and is not designed to care about you. Don’t look to the legal system for sympathy or encouragement.

Another: the contested divorce process is generally for most people far, far more distressing, time-consuming, expensive, unfair, and disappointing than they expected.

Lastly (and I wish I could take credit for this, but this comes from John Schindler): “Good behavior in a marriage is often bad behavior in a divorce.” Basically, he’s saying that no good deed goes unpunished in divorce, e.g.:

  • a woman who subordinates her career to devotedly taking care of her children and husband for 10 or so years or more will be ill-prepared for the demands of newly single life.
  • the longer a man takes good care of his wife in marriage increases his risk of having to pay her a ton of alimony, even if she’s the one who walks out on him.
  • being kind and honest and fair is good for marriage, while being vindictive, dishonest, and deceitful often pays big dividends in divorce.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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