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.
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.