Prenuptial Agreements: Predictors of Peace or Power Plays?

In recent years, the stigma associated with signing prenuptial agreements has faded dramatically. Once believed to be either bad luck or a necessary protective measure for the uber-wealthy, prenuptial agreements are now widely utilized by couples representing all income levels and all shades of optimistic hope that their marriages will last forever. But should the associated stigma have faded so quickly?

When constructed with good intentions and integrity, prenuptial agreements can actually help to strengthen an impending marriage. Stresses, tensions, and general worry tied to certain pieces of property may be set aside once a prenup has been created, signed, and filed with the courts. However, when constructed in a one-sided fashion, prenuptial agreements can represent a dangerous or otherwise manipulative power play.

In general, prenups will only stand up in court if they are fairly constructed and executed in a transparent and fully informed manner. However, there is a chance that one-sided prenups will ultimately be honored. More importantly, facing pressure to sign a one-sided prenup may reveal some disturbing things about one’s new partnership. It is important to acknowledge any concerns you have about signing a lopsided prenup and to not simply push them under the rug because prenuptial agreements have become much more accepted and even expected.

In the end, prenuptial agreements can be very beneficial and for this reason, more and more couples are embracing this legal tool. However, prenuptial agreements are still occasionally used as a tool of power, fraud, and intimidation by certain individuals. As a result, it is important that anyone signing a prenup who is uncomfortable with proposed provisions independently consults experienced legal counsel who can advise you properly.

Source: Huffington Post, “Sign This, Or Else! How Prenup Powerplays Prevail,” Susan Pease Gadoua, May 22, 2013

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