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Mistakes in Prenups.

Mistake 1: You don't talk about it because it's not romantic (not to mention, it's awkward).



Even though one in ten couples now enter into some kind of prenuptial or premarital agreement (“prenups”) many  couples are reluctant to sign a prenup because it seems unromantic and indicates a lack of trust. There are several reasons why this reluctance is misplaced.   First, if you do not sign a prenup, your marriage will be governed by a complex set of laws. In California they are the California Family Code and Probate Code. Either way your marriage will be governed by a complex set of rules. The choice is between a set of rules negotiated by you or imposed by the State. Second, from a historical perspective, premarital contracts lie at the root of the institution of marriage. For two thousand years, Jewish marriages have been preceded by a prenuptial agreement called the “Ketubah.” Third, far from undermining trust, the process of drafting and negotiating a prenuptial agreement may, in fact, strengthen your relationship. The process requires a full disclosure of your financial situation and involves an open and honest discussion of about how you will handle your money and plan your future. One psychiatrist states: “openly agreed upon rules are likely to be a better foundation for growth than are those latent rules that surface and prove to be either disagreeable or downright outrageous (‘What do you mean, you don’t do dishes?’)” Fifth, prenups prepare you for marriage. Sooner or later you are going to have to talk about money issues. Why not do it now and save heartache and trouble later on? After your honeymoon is over you will soon find out how earning and spending money is an integral part of your marriage. The Catholic Church recognized this fact and incorporates a prenuptial dialogue in a marital preparation process called “Pre-Cana.” Sixth, prenups can be drafted to protect both spouses not just a wealthy spouse. Seventh, it just makes sense. No-one plans on their house burning down, ending up in a nursing home or suffering a disability but they still take out insurance. As Dr. Ruth says: “We live in such a litigious society. Nobody knows what life brings. Hopefully we will never need it. What’s the big deal? Let’s do it and give it to the attorneys…for the new millennium, a prenup is part of a mature relationship, based on love, mutual trust and optimism.”

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