There are many myths that I hear from people around prenups and while I know the misconceptions aren’t going to change overnight, as a San Diego prenup lawyer and mediator I want to share the 5 common myths around prenups.
1. A Prenup is Different from a Premarital Agreement
During my time as a San Diego prenup lawyer and mediator, I’ve preferred using the term premarital agreement because the word prenup sounds cold and this is why we’re discussing the myths in this blog.
Most attorneys will use either prenup or prenuptial agreement to refer to the same thing. In the end, it comes down to preference as it doesn’t matter what you call them. A premarital agreement, prenup, or prenuptial agreement all refer to the same concept and can even be used interchangeably. The only difference I find is when I’m mediating a premarital agreement, we are likely to discuss and include far more in an agreement than most San Diego prenup lawyers are going to put into a prenup.
2. A Prenup Dooms Your Marriage
I often hear people say that you only ask for a prenup if you don’t trust your future spouse and expect to get divorced. Thus, putting together a prenup is going to doom your marriage. Actually, it’s the opposite and I’d even go so far as to say that it protects your marriage. This is because couples that enter into a premarital agreement before they get married are making sure that they’ve had some of the difficult conversations that couples often don’t have. Couples who start their marriage off with a strong foundation of communication are less likely to encounter troubles throughout their marriage and when they do, they’re more likely to work together to solve them. I often refer to prenups as insurance. Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you WILL get sick; it just means that if you do you have something in place to help you. The same goes for a prenup. Having a prenup in place doesn’t mean that you will get divorced, it just means that if you did you have a plan in place to help you.
3. Prenups are Only for the Wealthy
In the past, it was more common for prenups to only be used in situations where clients were wealthy. We often saw prenups in a situation where the wealth was coming from family money and the requirement to have a prenup came from family. However, because a premarital agreement deals with things down the road, the situation that you’re in now isn’t necessarily going to be the situation that you’re in if you were to get divorced. Additionally, if you’re doing premarital mediation with a San Diego prenup lawyer and mediator then your premarital agreement isn’t just to protect the assets you have now. It is to establish a foundation of communication around how you want your marriage to operate.
4. Prenups are Expensive
While the cost of a premarital agreement is going to depend on who the San Diego prenup lawyer or mediator is that is drafting it for you, they do not have to be expensive. There are ways to make sure that you’re not spending an excessive amount of money. One of those is working with a San Diego prenup lawyer and mediator who can do premarital mediation, meaning that you and your future spouse would sit down together with the mediator to discuss and reach agreements, and then the mediator drafts the agreement.
Doing that together from the beginning cuts down on the back-and-forth negotiating between attorneys with high hourly rates. It also means that when you do have another San Diego prenup lawyer review the agreement for you, they’re going to spend less time having to review and make edits. Additionally, if you can work with someone who does flat fees for their premarital agreements like we do at West Coast Family Mediation Center, then you’ll know what the cost is going to be and don’t have to worry about it getting too expensive. I do recommend making sure that whichever lawyer or mediator you involve has experience with them and does it often. Additionally, I advise not doing it on your own online as there are many requirements for a prenup to be valid and you don’t want to run into a situation down the road where your agreement gets thrown out by a judge.
5. Prenups are Usually Unfair
While there can certainly be prenups out there that are unfair, there are guidelines in place to make sure that they’re not inherently unfair. There can be issues down the road if you tried to enforce an unfair prenup, especially when it comes to any waivers of spousal support. If you complete your agreement through premarital mediation and use a San Diego prenup lawyer and mediator, it’s less likely to be unfair because it’s something that you and your future spouse are doing together. Premarital mediation allows the couple to put together a valid agreement that will benefit BOTH parties, not just one of them. It’s making sure that both parties feel protected going into the marriage.
If you have questions about premarital agreements, please contact one of our San Diego prenup lawyers and mediators at West Coast Family Mediation Center for more information.