Jennifer Hargrave joined John Liddle and KRLD Radio, Dallas-Fort Worth to discuss the current perception of prenuptial agreements and whether prenups benefit everybody or they are only for the rich and famous.
Many people assume that prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous. However, a new Harris poll finds that nearly 40% of married or engaged people between the ages of 18 and 34 have signed prenups. Prenups are getting more important to younger people and Dallas family law attorney, Jennifer Hargrave, was asked about this phenomenon.
Listen to the show or jump to the summary of the questions that were discussed which appears below.
- What’s the story with prenups these days?
- Prenuptial agreements have not always had the best press. Why is that?
- You’re saying that when you are in love is the best time to do a prenuptial agreement?
What’s the story with prenups these days?
A lot of couples who are about to enter into marriage want to at least have a conversation, and I think that’s smart. People need to understand that when you get married, there’s a whole body of law that wraps around your marriage. So, you enter into the marriage and suddenly you have legal obligations and duties that you had no idea you were getting into.
Frankly, it’s not all romantic to talk about, but a premarital agreement allows couples to know the law and how it applies to them. Then they can decide how they want to do things differently, or whether they want to custom-tailor the obligations in their relationship.
Starting your lives together by talking about your goals, interests, and values, and reaching an agreement on these issues at a time when you care very deeply for each other is a great thing to do. Look, marriages end one way or another, right? If it is not with divorce then it’s until death do us part. So having these conversations at the beginning of the marriage allows couples to set the framework for a really solid marriage.
Prenuptial agreements have not always had the best press. Why is that?
Historically, prenups have a very negative connotation: I don’t need a premarital agreement because I’m never going to get divorced; only people who plan to divorce need a premarital agreement. That’s really not the case. Prenups are not only useful in divorce cases.
As I said, there’s this whole body of law that answers questions like:
- What is community property?
- How does community property get divided?
- What are your fiduciary duties and rights and obligations and debt?
- What do we do about debt?
So, yes, I’m glad we’re talking about premarital agreements today because it empowers people going into marriage to structure their marriage in a way that’s consistent with their values.
Is the best time to do a prenup when you are in love?
Exactly. There’s not going to be another time when you care more for each other. You know, these can be difficult conversations. The traditional way of negotiating a premarital agreement can be harsh. I like to invite people to look at this as a collaborative process. It’s an opportunity to start your lives together by identifying goals and interests and the things that most matter to you, and then agree on ways to handle these issues.
You know, events may arise. Marriage is a contract that you enter into without knowing what the terms are going to be. You don’t know what’s going to happen in life. But people like me, divorce attorneys that deal with divorces every day, have a good idea of what causes a lot of discord in marriage. So, I think good premarital counseling is a great way to start off the marriage.