People use prenups more now than they used to, and the basic stigma around them has changed. Part of the reason may be the way that people now accept divorce as a possibility and a potential outcome, rather than a personal failing. They understand that divorce is sometimes the best option — in cases of financial, emotional and even physical abuse, for instance — and that it is statistically fairly likely. With this in mind, prenups are not a way to admit that your marriage will fail, but a way to protect yourself if it does.
However, it is often hard to change some of these deep-seated ideas, and this gives rise to a lot of myths since people have resisted prenups and do not understand them. Let’s break down a few of those myths.
1. It’s up to you what you put in the prenup, and you can include any clause you desire.
While it is up to you and your future spouse, you absolutely cannot include anything at all. Some issues remain off-limits and their inclusion can invalidate the prenup or at least make it so that portion will not stand. One of the most common examples is child custody. You can’t waive it or demand that it goes to you in a prenup.
2. Divorce becomes more likely when you draft a prenup.
As noted above, divorce is already likely, which is why people want prenups. Does creating it make it more likely that you will end the marriage, perhaps because you mentally prepared for it from the beginning? Not really. In one study, the vast majority of mental health experts — 86 percent — claimed there was no impact at all. Divorce was just as likely, they believed, for couples with and without prenups.
3. You have to follow the prenup if you do get divorced.
Not always. You can veer away from it if your spouse agrees. For instance, maybe your spouse has more money than you both anticipated and wants to give you a larger percentage in an amicable divorce. He or she can do so, even if that goes against the prenup.
4. As long as there’s time before the wedding, a prenup is still an option.
It depends on how much time there is. Signing too close to the wedding may invalidate the agreement by making it so that the other person signed under duress. If your spouse springs a surprise prenup on you two hours before the wedding, even if you sign, it’s probably not going to hold up.
Understanding your rights
Whether you want to draft a prenup or learn more about how one you already signed should impact your divorce, you must make sure you know all of your rights.