Somewhere in the process of sorting financial and estate planning decisions arises the dreaded question: „Do I have to get my fiancé to sign a marriage contract?” If there is a hunch that the answer is „yes,” then the question is, „How can I send a message to my fiancé without causing problems or start World War III?” National divorce laws can address issues of income differences and inequality of pre-marital property when spouses are divorced. Avoiding a court at the expense of an agreement that might make marriage breakdown more likely may not be a reasonable compromise. Engaging is usually a period of joyful anticipation. But deep down, this joy and excitement are often accompanied by a few feelings rarely discussed and often ignored. Rooted in fear of the unknown, feelings of fear and worry are sometimes companions of joy and excitement. What creates these opposite emotions is our innate protective antenna. We don`t want to be hurt by someone we love deeply. We want to believe that our partner will have our best interest in the decades to come. Nevertheless, we are all fallible people, and we know that. When couples enter into marriage, they face difficult issues and have to make difficult decisions, often related to complex and emotionally charged issues. Some of these decisions can be very difficult for couples to sort individually, let alone discuss with each other. Some of the more effective emotional prenupes focus less on these daily activities of a marriage than on the values and emotions of a couple. An example of an emotional pre-eruption may say that spouses treat each other with dignity during confrontations and will renounce contempt or sarcasm.

The first thing I do with couples arguing about a marriage deal is try to push them away from the view that one of them is romantic and the other calculates. I want them to feel that they are just two people with different and equally valid emotional needs. The future spouse, who pushes for a conjugal agreement, shows a lack of confidence in the other and a lack of commitment to marriage. This future spouse also starts because of a lack of fairness towards the other in the event of a divorce. Q: One of my clients, who was burned by an ugly divorce, remarries and wants a marriage. His fiancée is angry at his request. How can I help them do that? Since Mark Zuckerberg`s marriage to his wife Priscilla, the issue of alternative marriage contracts has been raised. Reports indicate that Priscilla took a unique and advantageous step to get Zuckerberg to sign a pre-marriage agreement. The document outlined some of the requirements that needed to be met in order for her to cross the country to live with him.

Since this was brought to light, many couples have been exploring different possibilities for marital arrangements. Courts routinely impose pre-marital arrangements that give a spouse a fraction of what the spouse „deserves” under state law. This proves that the agreement reached years earlier in the matrimonial agreement was unfair to that spouse. Lately, many articles have been published on the Internet, praising the merits of entering into a marital or pre-marital contract before your marriage. I offer the following considerations of my legal practice and work as a mediator to strongly counter the idea that marital agreements do not have „fees” and benefit only a married couple. The two people who are getting married should think seriously about what these realities are before you start thinking that a marriage will be good for you and your couple.

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