Divorce statistics show it pays to make a prenuptial agreement before the wedding.

Realism versus romance.

Whilst not wishing to rain on anyone's parade, I think it is vital to inject the small voice of warning into the whole complicated business of getting married in the 21st century.

Apparently getting married today means booking a glamorous venue for the ceremony, arranging hen parties and stag do's that now necessitate staying somewhere expensive, preferably abroad, for a few days as well as spending the equivalent of a university fee on a dress and the gdp of a small country on a honeymoon.

This seems to be the norm for many couples these days and as an old and much-married (only part of it my fault) cynic, the whole event is a triumph of hope over reality.

Divorce statistics in the USA.

America currently has the highest rate of divorce on the planet. Around 40 - 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce with the rather interesting statistic showing that as the couples age the number of men divorcing increases.

It would seem likely that this is because their old lady is finally losing both her looks and her firmness and may not making as much effort in the relevant area, if you get my drift.

For an interesting chart on divorce rates in correlation to age have a look at divorcerate.org

The pain of divorce.

The distress of divorce is a given. There will always be some degree of hurt on both sides, even on the side of the transgressor, if there is one. Guilty parties do not necessarily get away totally scot-free in the emotional sense, especially if there are children involved.

And there is more to lose. If your 'dowry' was the family farm, if you brought some irreplaceable piece of property into the marriage you could stand to lose it as the divorce settlement carves up your assets between you.

You don’t need me to tell that this can be particularly galling if your partner has done very little in the way of 'providing' during the marriage.

Ah, the romance of it all ...
Ah, the romance of it all ... | Source

The emotional baggage of the prenuptial agreement.

It takes courage to suggest a prenuptial agreement to the one you love. The mere term seems laden with overtones of doom, as if you don't really believe in 'our love’. In the heady days of your romance, as you arrange your wedding, it takes a very brave person to mention that a prenuptial agreement might be a good idea.

But if you are bringing a valuable piece of real estate to the conjugal table, a period family home, say, or a working farm that has been in your family for many generations, then you may wish to protect and preserve it to hand on as it has been handed on to you.

It may even be that there is little monetary worth in the property but that it has more of a sentimental value, a link with your ancestors, something you still want to keep in your bloodline, if that doesn't sound too feudal.

Sense and sensitivity.

Either way, the only guarantee that you can hang onto a property with meaning for you is to have a prenup set up. That way you can sleep easy at night if your big romance ever fails and, let’s face it, no-one can know what the future holds.

Of course you will have to broach the whole issue with the utmost sensitivity and tact but if your loved one truly loves you, shouldn't they show it by allowing you this concession?

If your intended is really your soulmate they should understand precisely why you would want to hold on to such real estate. And if they won’t allow it, what might that say about them?

A prenuptial agreement is not mercenary.

It could be argued that rather than a prenuptial agreement seeming unromantic and mercenary, the partner who is not bringing in a property of any sort of value could be seen as covering their backs should anything go wrong.

It could seem as if they are the mercenary ones, consoling themselves with the thought that if the marriage does go belly up at least they will be able to walk away with half the value of some heirloom home.

An heirloom property should go to heirs.

To lose a much-loved property that has been honoured, treasured and loved by your family for years, maybe generations, can be heartbreaking. Imagine passing it and telling your children from a subsequent marriage how it once belonged to your family but you lost it in the divorce settlement with your ex-spouse.

Imagine their curiosity and maybe, their disappointment.

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Comments 8 comments

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Good article and very important especially with May/December marriages. Not only are older men marrying younger women but I see many older women marrying younger guys and the children from previous marriages should be protected.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for your input, Pamela ... I just thought how sad it must be if you are brought up in a home you care about only to lose it so easily through a divorce settlement.

It seems even worse if it was a short-lived marriage!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Divorce breeds more divorce, for a variety of reasons, and as our moral standards plummet, so does our trust.

Until we decide to return to low divorce rates and shun divorce again, prenuptial agreements are a necessity.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Even if there is no divorce I see it as important. If the new bride outlives the groom and he has children they may not inherit anything while his new bride gets it all.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for your comment, Will.

I think that reversing the divorce rate would be impossible now. And keeping people in abusive or otherwise unhappy marriages is dangerous and very bad for the children in the family.

I think the answer may be to teach kids more about relationships in school. Yes, I know, yet more work for teachers that parents should be doing but kids need to know that rushing into marriage is a bad idea. They should enjoy their freedom first ...

It sure is a tricky subject ... thanks for dropping in.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for popping back, Pam. That one is a toughy ... but can be sorted out by properly thought out wills. It is possible to leave the property to the children but make proviso for the wife such as allowing her to live in it for the rest of her natural life. It then reverts to the children though unless the children really care for her they could make her life uncomfortable - I know of such a case.

If the wife is a young woman who was married to an older man ... my guess is all hell breaks loose! Unless he was rich when he should have been able to leave her some sort of monetary compensation or another house with no family ties.


Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand

A very "engaging" hub indeed! It should be compulsory to have a prenup. If couples had to present the minister with a copy of the agreement prior to the ceremony, it would save a lot of heartache, as well as the pain associated with asking in the first place.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 3 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi Thomas … thanks for the kind comment.

A prenup might seem somewhat mercenary to some but it could just be my down to earth Yorkshireness that makes it seem sensible in the present age. :)

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