Many people see prenuptial agreements as a poor way to start a marriage because they seem to anticipate its failure. But with nearly 50,000 New York marriages ending in divorce in 2009, getting married without a prenuptial agreement—also called an antenuptial agreement or prenup—can be a risky proposition.
A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract a couple enters prior to marriage that establishes in advance what will occur in case of divorce. It may make provisions for property division, clearly establish marital and personal property, set forth maintenance or alimony payments from one spouse to the other, and plan out the care and custody of minor children.
Prenuptial agreements can be especially useful in marriages where the spouses have unequal economic capabilities. In essence, such agreements limit the risk of loss to the economically advantaged spouse while still providing a guaranteed settlement to the economically disadvantaged spouse. But regardless, a prenuptial agreement can simplify the process of divorce and limit the necessity of settlement negotiations or litigation.
In fact, a prenuptial agreement can even help foster and preserve a happy marriage. While people regard a prenup primarily as divorce planning, it can also contain provisions for during the course of the marriage. A good prenuptial agreement can establish or clarify the rights and duties of each spouse during the duration of the marriage. It can help avoid common sources of marital discord—such as financial disagreements or disputes over child rearing—by resolving them before they occur.
Why Staying Together Is Not Always in a Family’s Best Interests
Rather than face their fears, many unhappily married people justify staying trapped in a dysfunctional situation. They let fears about money, the children, and changing the family dynamic paralyze them into inaction.
But there can also be costs to staying put, such as the following:
- Marital bickering and fighting creates a tense atmosphere affecting the whole household
- A miserable marital relationship erodes self-esteem and causes depression
- A stressful marriage can hurt your health, leading to hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes
- Poor work performance
Staying in a bad marriage can have a negative impact on the children[CK1], especially those in their formative years. Children from unhappy homes can exhibit behavioral issues, including the following:
- Social withdrawal
- Poor grades
- Acting out in anger
Filing for divorce and embarking on a new life will seem less scary if you develop an action plan and then take steps to ensure a smooth transition. Consider options that help you become self-sufficient, such as getting a job, arranging for childcare, and finding affordable housing.
Build a support network of family, friends, and counselors. Also, look for an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and fight for your interests, such as equitable child custody, child support, and property distribution.
Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah
If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506