Mar 052015 4 Responses

Pastoral Advice: Sign a Prenup

It’s probably not the advice people expect from their pastor, but it is advice I regularly give. If you are getting married later in life, sign a prenuptial agreement.

A prenup isn’t necessary for a couple getting married just out of college. As they are beginning adult life together, there is no need to consider the possibility that their marriage could come to an end. Most of their assets will be acquired together and if the relationship does end, assets should be divided equally.

However, in our society where it is very common for second marriages to occur after children are born, businesses are established, and assets are gained, a prenuptial agreement just makes sense. (See: Divorce Is Contagious)

Many would object. I understand those objections. I do not believe a marriage should be entered into with divorce being an option. I took my wedding vows with a life-long seriousness and I expect others to do the same. This is not about giving people a way out of their vows.

This is about the world in which we live, statistics, and the need to protect our families.

I would’ve never imagined signing a prenup when Jenny and I were married. For one thing, we didn’t have any assets to discuss. However, if something happens to either of us and the one remaining decides to remarry, we should sign a prenup. We have children, business relationships, and other issues which we would need to protect.

Not only would we need to clarify what would happen to existing assets in case of death, but we would also need to determine the protocol for mental illness, disability, incapacitation, and divorce.  (See: Marriage Is Not the Flip of a Coin)

Few people get married planning on getting a divorce. It should not be a serious option for those getting married. However, it is a possibility. For a variety of reasons, a divorce could take place. While a couple shouldn’t enter into marriage believing divorce is an option, they should protect their children, business partners, and other relationships in case it does happen.

Imagine Jack and Diane having a whirlwind romance. High School sweethearts get married, have a few kids, and are very successful in business. Sadly, Diane gets cancer and, after twenty years of marriage, she dies. Years go by and Jack meets another woman. They fall in love and get married. Being good church-going people, they would never consider a divorce and the idea of a prenuptial agreement seems pagan.

A few years go by and unbeknownst to anyone, the new wife develops a small tumor in her brain. It drastically change her personality. It doesn’t render her legally insane, but it does remove her inhibitions and changes her desires. She leaves Jack. But as she leaves, she takes with her 50% of everything Jack and Diane acquired—the home in which the kids were raised, half the 401k, a share of every partnership Jack was a part of.

Imagine the chaos and loss for Jack, the children, and every business partner. (See: This Is Who You Want to Marry)

All of this could be prevented by a prenuptial agreement. By having a few difficult conversations before a marriage begins, a couple can protect their loved ones and friends in case something goes wrong.

4 Responses to Pastoral Advice: Sign a Prenup
  1. Kris Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Marriage is a religious covenant entered into by two people. Unfortunately in the United States, marriage is also a CONTRACT entered into by two individuals. A proper role of government is to enforce contracts. A prenuptial agreement is necessary to protect both individuals interests from the state.

  2. burrowsk Reply

    This is an intriguing article. As someone who has recently remarried (we each have children from previous marriages – 12, 16, & 21), we considered this issue long and hard – and still deal with how to co-mingle our finances in everyday life. This is a very personal decision for each couple. You make good and valid points, but here’s another side.

    Although my husband and I are well aware that things can feel “lopsided” when one spouse takes half of the assets that s/he may not have contributed to, it is also a matter of faith. Faith that the marriage will last. Faith that we can continue to work things out (through marriage or divorce). Faith that regardless what happens, God will provide a way.

    I’m not suggesting that people who sign a pre-nup are without faith. Each situation is very different and I can imagine situations where we might have signed one. But I do think it is easy to get into a worldly mindset about possessions and what I acquired and what’s mine, which is, in itself, antithetical to union and oneness. Just another viewpoint to consider on this very complex topic.

    Blessings! And thanks for the article.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I wouldn’t argue with this point at all. What a great perspective. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Mary Smith Reply

    I like the use of names Jack & Diane”. Glad you like music. I agree w/ this entirely.

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