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December 6, 2012


Prenuptials Please!

You may have heard the word, “prenups” in many pop songs lately such as a song called Gold Digger (2008) by Kanye West, he stated, “If you aint no punk holla…We Want Prenup… WE WANT PRENUP! Yeaah”. He’s talking about women who want to date wealthy men for their money then make them fall in love with them, and marry them. But Kanye West is demanding a prenuptial agreement by shouting, “WE WANT PRENUP!”. Most people assume prenups aren’t only for the superstars but it’s for the middle to upper middle class who want to protect their possessions. Society has this belief that prenuptial agreements are only for the super wealthy but it isn’t only for the affluent Donald Trumps, or Britney Spears of the 21th century. Love and life is unpredictable, and a possible glitch can occur in any marriage at anytime, which could lead to a messy divorce but a prenuptial agreement will make it less troubling. A prenuptial agreement ("prenup" for short) is a written contract created by two people before they are married. A prenup normally lists all of the property each person owns (as well as any debts) and specifies what each person's property rights will be after the marriage. Prenuptial agreements have been around since the 19th century, before the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, the agreements were necessary for women in the United States. Until the act became law, everything a woman owned or inherited was transferred to her husband. If he died or divorced her, she could lose everything. (Stritof 1) But prenuptial agreements can prevent some of the loss, and get you out of a divorce or an unexpected death with fewer woes. Prenuptial agreements are often used to protect the assets of a wealthy fiancé, and couples of more modest means are increasingly turning to them for their real estate, small businesses and family-owned businesses. There are many benefits for prenuptial agreement such as for them to be able to pass separate property to children from prior marriages, clarify financial rights, avoid arguments in case of divorce and get protection from debts, keep finances separate, protect each other from debts, keep property in the family, follow through by making your estate plan, define who gets what if you divorce, and clarify responsibilities during the marriage (Stoner 1). Also, by using a prenuptial agreement you can state what you want your spouse, and children to receive from your estate if you passed away, and then it won’t be in the state’s power to determine who receives what from your estate. Therefore, more and more of these agreements are being drafted," says American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers President Marlene Eskind Moses. "It's not just something for the rich and famous any longer. It's for people that have assets and/or income that they want to protect." Nearly one-third of single adults say they would ask a significant other to sign a prenup, according to a February survey of 2,323 adults by Harris Interactive. Only 3% of folks with a spouse or fiancée have a prenuptial agreement, but that's up significantly from the 1% reported when Harris conducted a similar study in April 2002. (Petrecca 1) The author or Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert has recently made the case in her new best seller, Committed, for why she and her husband got a prenup. "Marriage is not just a private love story but also a social and economical contract of the strictest order," she says. "If it weren't, there wouldn't be thousands of municipal, state and federal laws pertaining to our matrimonial union." More than one-third of adults — 36% — said prenups make smart financial sense, according to the Harris survey. When Harris asked that same question in 2002, 28% said so. (Petrecca 1) Due to the divorce rates, prenuptial agreements are necessary for any love union. "People are hopeful," Suzanne Orman, famous financial advisor says. "They want their relationship to last. ... It's just natural that they don't think they'll need a prenuptial agreement. Never in a million years do they think (divorce) will happen." In 2008, the divorce rate was about 50%. Among married Americans, the median duration of their wedded life in 2008 was 18 years, according to Pew Research Center's analysis of government data. Given those odds, "Hope is not a financial plan," says Orman, who urges that every couple get a prenuptial agreement. (Petrecca 1) "The time to plan for a divorce is not when you're in a state of hate," she says. Among the divorced, 15% say they regret not having a prenuptial agreement in their most recent marriage, according to the Harris poll. (Petrecca 1) Most people think prenups aren’t viewed as romantic but these people need to face the facts of life that good things come to an end. The lowest downfall of prenuptial agreements is to not get one and regret it later on if the marriage fails, or a spouse dies. If you decided to get a prenuptial agreement, you can draft your own agreement but you will need separate lawyers for each spouse. The lawyer can help you put together an agreement that meets state requirements and says what you want it to say. Prenuptial agreements are still dissected by the courts and having two lawyers helps structure your needs, and wants for the prenup (Stoner 1). You must create a list, or outline who things you want to be stated in the prenuptial before meeting the lawyer, and then they can help both have a fixed an agreement, and work out everyone needs, and wants. Prenuptial agreements may send chills down your future husband or wife’s spine when you may first ask for one, but it will save a lot of misunderstandings, and confusion with a financial contract for the marriage. Most people may not effectively manage their finances, or plan for their future but prenuptial agreements are needed to clear up any misapprehensions. Couples must have a plan of action before saying “I do”, which involves more than love, and romance but a prenuptial agreement. 

Works Cited
Petrecca, Laura. "Prenuptial Agreements: Unromantic, but Important - USATODAY.com."
News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - USATODAY.com. USA TODAY, 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/basics/2010-03-08-prenups08_CV_N.htm>.
Stoner, Katherine. "Prenuptial Agreements by Shae Irving, Katherine Stoner - Nolo." Lawyers, Legal Forms, Law Books & Software, Free Information - Nolo. NOLO, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.nolo.com/products/prenuptial-agreements-PNUP.htmlGerri. "5 Tips: Are Prenups for You? - Jun. 1, 2005." Business, Financial, Personal Finance News - CNNMoney. CNN MONEY, 01 June 2005. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/01/pf/saving/willis_tips/index.htm>.
Stritof, Sheri & Bob. "Prenuptial Marriage Agreements - For Love or Money." Marriage -- THE Starting Place for Exploring Marriage and Marriage Issues. About.com Marriage, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://marriage.about.com/cs/agreements/a/loveormoney.htm>.                     

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