A recent thought provoking article in the Huffington Post written by Lara Lillibridge raises interesting questions about the difference in the way people treat “marriage contracts” and “commercial contracts.” While people sign thirty page contracts for a two-year commitment with a particular cell phone provider and plan, many enter the lifelong commitment of marriage without discussing or agreeing to many fundamental issues that will affect the marriage, such as control over household finances, the type of behavior that constitutes “cheating” along with the consequences, and potential financial expectations for the future.
The author suggests that perhaps marriage would work better if parties signed a written agreement that provided for predetermined alimony and property division on recurring five year contracts that covered such matters as the following:
- What is considered impermissible adultery?
- How will household chores be divided?
- What are the expectations of each party regarding sexual activity?
While these suggestions may be a little over the top, the author is making a valid point that the romance of marriage often trumps practical considerations regarding the appropriate steps in preparing to build a home together. With the divorce rate being nearly fifty percent, marital parties might benefit from what the author refers to as a less “Pollyanna” approach to marriage so that engaged parties do not end up devoting more attention to finding a florist for a wedding than how family finances will be managed within the family structure.
Because financial disagreements are a leading cause of divorce, a prenuptial agreement can provide a more limited “marital contract” to address many of the financial matters that often become a source of conflict. Prenuptial agreements not only serve the function of characterizing assets and/or delineating alimony terms, but the process of negotiating these terms promotes open communication between spouses about financial matters prior to marriage. Given the tendency of financial stress and disputes in creating conflict that can lead to divorce, this type of communication could have the effect of actually providing marriages with a firmer foundation.
Many people considering a prenuptial agreement are unsure how to approach the topic or to prepare an enforceable agreement that accurately reflects the agreement between the marital partners. Our New Mexico Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys can provide legal counsel on these issues and prepare prenuptial agreements for those contemplating marriage.
The above information is provided to illustrate general principles of law and should not be interpreted as a specific legal opinion on an individual case. You should contact experienced legal counsel to get specific legal advice that is based upon your specific circumstances.
If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, Jay Goodman & Associates offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque during which we discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 989-8117 to learn about your rights and options.