There are a flurry of engagements that occur between the holidays and Valentine’s Day. Now, as many brides are busy planning their weddings this spring, it is my job to draft a ton of prenuptial agreements. Interestingly enough, I am seeing a very distinct trend where these documents are no longer for the rich and/or famous. Normal, every day people are getting these prenups done mainly to 1) protect their separate interests and 2) minimize any exposure to alimony.
Another new trend worth noting is an increasing demand to have future spouses waive any interest in businesses that are in the process of being created– and I’ve even seem some Operating Agreements, where the companies are requiring a prenup before they will allow someone to have an intersest in the business. So, more and more I have to come up with some creative solutions while dealing with an ever increasing need to keep the emotions calm.
My prenup consults have truly morphed in the last few years to more of a pre-marriage counseling session, where we talk a lot about the benefits and the perils of marriage. I often give people a list of books they should read, including Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Dr. Chapman’s love language quiz is always well received, and I often recommend a few of the videos from my past shows with couples counselors.
The fact is, love is not enough to weather all storms. There are some key skills we all need to have if we want to keep a marriage intact, and we have to accept that marriage is always going to be a work in progress. To embrace the notion of a team and give up the idea of purusing an individual form of happiness is not easy, especially because it is quite contrary to our American culture as Robert Scuka pointed out to me in a recent interview. Furthermore, we need to accept that happiness is not a permanent state of being– it is something we have to continue to strive for, as we continue to build on trust, respect and proving our continued commitment to the marriage.
Why do I bring all this up? Because the rate of success for marriage is not good– especially for second marriages. People need to realize the risk and then see the weak spots as opportunities for further improvement. While they work on the relationship side of things, it is my job to minimize the legal/financial downside in the event the partnership doesn’t succeed. This really is not very romantic, but almost a necessary evil, which is why I have one final recommendation for engaged couples: don’t wait until the last minute to finalize a prenup. Get it over before those wedding invites go out, and afterwards sit back and enjoy the countdown to your special day.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.