Debate This + Poll: Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements Hot Or Not?

Pre-nuptial agreements have become very commonplace in modern marriages, and the types of pre-nups run the gamut. Catherine Zeta-Jones supposedly has a clause in her pre-nup with Michael Douglas that she gets a couple million dollars if he cheats. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have a pre-nup which supposedly pays her for every year of their marriage. Many pre-nups state in advance who gets what belongings and property in the event of divorce — most are there to cover the butt of one wealthy spouse incase their soon to be ex decides to take them for house and home. Additionally, plenty of pre-nups are instated if one member of the couples comes from money — I know of one guy who’s grandmother made it a necessity that he get a pre-nup if he wanted access to his inheritance. I’ve been thinking about pre-nups a bit lately because I’m getting married. We’re not having a pre-nup, but it still has made me think about what drives couples to get them. I’ll get to my opinion eventually, but first, two experts and a handful of real people weigh in. Are Pre-Nups Hot Or Not? HOT:
“The national divorce rate is 50 percent overall, 60 percent for remarriages. Seventy-percent of divorces occur over money; more than sex or in-laws. Pre-nups cause couples to communicate and compromise about money before the wedding, making it more likely that a marriage will last. They alleviate anxiety and give couples peace of mind to enable them to get married. Pre-nups will make divorce less traumatic and cause married couples and their children less pain.” — Arlene G. Dubin, Prenups For Lovers: A Romantic Guide to Prenuptial Agreements

“These days, with so many public figures showing us how acrimonious divorces can be, I wouldn’t be opposed to signing one. I’m not sure whether it’s something I would suggest, but I understand why they’re there. It would be nice to believe that marriages are forever, but that’s not the case.” — Catherine (yes, our Catherine)

“I think they’re smart from a fiscal standpoint, but it’s a tough subject to broach. ‘Looking forward to marrying you, honey, but just in case this all fails…’ It’s not a very idealistic or romantic look at marriage, but it’s an honest
one.” — Jake

“I think you only really need one if one person has a lot more money than the other or if they have huge family inheritance or family wealth. Then it’s smart to get one.” — Lesley

“We believe that Pre-Nuptial Agreements are a bad idea, period! Just imagine, telling someone that you love them, but you don’t trust them! To us, it becomes a case of yours and mine. Whatever happened to US? We? Love without conditions? Frankly, we doubt seriously that the true meaning of ‘marriage’ would embrace this sort of duplicitous relationship between two people who say they love each other. In our 25 years of research with successfully married couples, we have found in these loving relationships an abiding trust in each other. You can’t have unconditional love with a Pre-Nuptial Agreement!” — Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz and Dr. Charles Schmitz, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage

“I have one friend who actually has one, because she’s loaded because her grandfather left her a ton of cash. Too bad she married one of my friends who turned out to be a drunk and a deadbeat dad, so I guess for her it turned out to be a good thing. She’s the exception to the rule as far as I am concerned. In most cases, if you need to cover your ass to the degree that you think your potential spouse is gonna take your loot, then you really must take a step back and re-evaluate who you’re marrying.” — Andrew

“On one hand, what’s the point of pledging yourself till death do you part if there’s an out? But I suppose the Titanic had lifeboats — though not enough. If i had a fortune…hmmmm…. You know, secretly, I want to be Nick Lachey. I am against pre-nups because the suggestion is it’s a rich dude and a less rich broad. I am against them because I’m going to marry a woman who will become stinking rich while we’re married, then I will divorce her and make out like a bandit. Then start dating MTV VJs way past their expiration dates.” — John

“I believe in the prenup that says, ‘Look, if we divorce, you can’t sue me for millions of bucks just because we were married.’ But I don’t agree with the one that puts a million terms on a relationship — “You get $5 million if you stay married for at least 5 years, $10 million if you stay married for ten years, etcetera.” — Janet

I say: Here’s the thing. Marriage is a risk. Half of marriages do end up in divorce. But when you make a commitment to marry someone, you really should have confidence and love and trust in that person’s character — including how that character will manifest itself in a worst case scenario, like divorce. Maybe it’s unrealistic, but my opinion is for a marriage to have a chance at working, you have to have that blind, stupid, unwavering trust in that person. If you don’t, maybe you shouldn’t get married. But what do I know? I don’t have anything in my savings account to protect!