Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in unknowingly and unintentionally signing a prenuptial agreement… speak now or forever hold your peace, ok ill speak but not everyone is going to like it.
from time to time when I mention the idea of a prenup and prenup meaning to people they looked at me appalled and shocked. “to sign a prenup? me? I don’t believe love should be mixed up with contracts!”
well, I got news for you sunshine, love is mixed with contract and law whether you like it or not. only that the prenuptial agreement you sign is not called marriage contract it is called “state law”.
after all, when we sign a prenup we actually deciding what will happen to our property on case fo a divorce or god forbid, death. so who get to decide that happens in a case of sudden death of one of the spouse? bye bye, prenup, hello state inheritance laws.
for example, when living in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Alaska(although Alaska is a bit different)) in a case of death the remaining spouse entitled to half the community property. the other half owner is according to the deceased party written will, if he has one.
let us think of a couple which bought a house together after the marriage, and let’s assume that the money for the house comes from one spouse pocket. in a case of that spouse death the other party is entitled to half that house(which he didn’t pay for) and the deceased will can’t determine what happens with that half of the house.
in a common law state, things are quite different. the property isn’t divided in half but each part own the parts of the property to his name. so suppose a couple living in a house which was paid for by the husband. if the husband pass away, and he has a will stating that his property will be inherited by his children from the prevoius marriage, his wife find herself suddenly without a home.
these are just examples but the point is that in the case of death of one spouse the other is at the mercy of his state rules and not in control of his future according to his wills and his deceased partner wills.
and what about divorces? yes, you guessed right it is the same thing. as I have explained in my article “divorcing without a prenup who gets what?” when couples get divorced without a prenup they are subject to their state law.
are you working hard building a business from scratch? spending night and days developing it? I am sorry my friend but in a case of divorce, your spouse is entitled to half of it, assuming you live in a comunity property.
did you put your wife’s name on the deed for the house you bought with your own moeny? maybe it was out of tax consideration or as a statement of your undying love. if you live in a common law state you can kiss that house goodbye if that great love ends up dying…
the minute the judge “pronounce you husband and wife” you actually are obligated by a contract. you are now under a set of rules that become crucial in a case of divorce or death. the future is no longer in your hands. what happens is decided for you by those rules. the rules that were formed to protect the general population and were not tailor-made for your specific needs. you and your wife are unique. your situation is not a copy of others situations, so it makes no sense that the same rules will be fit to every couple at your state. in other words you have a prenup – a contract that decides what happens in a case of divorce or death. you just didn’t form that prenuptial agreement yourself. it was formed for you.
when you get married and don’t sign a prenup you tend to not consider all these things. you are in love and you pay zero attention to things like state rules and regulation. without you knowing it you suddenly in a contract. you probably didn’t try to understand the rules. in most cases, you don’t even know the rules. maybe you don’t even know there are rules on those matters. you clearly didn’t intend to sign a prenup and you surely aren’t prepared for it.
that is the reason I wrote this article. I wanted to show you a different perspective of things. everybody who gets married should realise he signing a prenup, and at least read and learn the main rules of his state concerning divorce or sudden death.
I believe that going into things open-eyed is better than being ignorant. but I also believe it is not enough. I really believe that you should make the effort to study your state laws and to make your own prenup. I think that you should take your future into your own hands and be proactive. don’t let your life be governed by factors you don’t know. there are many things in life you don’t have control of. it is a pity to loose control on things you don’t have to.