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Prenuptial Agreements

March 14, 2007

This journal entry is prepared solely to present a very basic version of my views toward marriage and the prenuptial agreement.

Now it’s often believed that marriage is the full culimination of a couple’s love.  You date or court, and then after some time you become engaged, and finally you “marry”: but what does it mean to marry?

It’s easy to think marriage is the outward ceremony: the dressing up in the tuxedos and big white dress, having your family all come and witness, and the partaking of the vows… But is this really marriage?

This may be what marriage is to the minds of the people partaking in such, but to the government, marriage is nothing of the sort.  The government doesn’t care if you love each other, or what vows you made to each other.  Marriage is really a contract between the man and the woman which has been pre-written by the government.  Upon close examination of this contract, you find little romance.  Nearly the entire body of government law surrounding marriage is geared toward SEPERATION and DEATH.

Outside of a few minor tax benefits, and other little perks, marriage, by law, is a set of conditions as to who gets what upon SEPERATION or DEATH.

When two lovers go to the courthouse, and fill out all their marriage paperwork, they think they’re finally bringing to full culimination their love for one another.  They think they’re posting in big letters their undying faithfulness to one another, all over the walls of the courthouse and the world. There couldn’t be anything farther from the case.

In fact, what they’re doing (mainly) is asking the government: “Hey, if things don’t work out between us, we need a third party to come in and make sure all the things we’ve accumulated while we were together is divided properly.  We want these assets to be divided according to the procedure denoted in U.S. law under ‘marriage’.”

I don’t really consider the distribution of assets upon DEATH a real benefit to marriage, as this could just as easily be accomplished by a good thoroughly written will.

Marriage law has to do with who gets the house, the money in the bank account, the car(s), and who gets custody of the children …. all upon SEPERATION.  What you’re doing (mainly) when you fill out the marriage license is saying you want your relationship to have this procedure done if, and only if, you SEPERATE.

So you see, if you’re even getting “married” to begin with, you’re almost presupposing the fact that things may not work out, and you’re looking after yourself and your assets.

I’m not saying this is bad.  I believe in it wholeheartedly.  It’s oftentimes misunderstood, however, that marriage is some sort of unity between a couple.  Maybe somewhat, but that’s not the main gist of what marriage is.  Sharing a lastname, calling each other “Mr” and “Mrs”, etc, is not much of a big deal.  There are some benefits you can find to marriage, which are pretty good, but it’s still not what people are thinking of when they think of what marriage is.  If you want an idea as to what kinds of things you’re actually agreeing to when filling out a marriage contract, check out the web link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States

The most notable example I see as a benefit of marriage is the inheritance of property of the spouse upon death of the spouse.  That’s a real benefit.  (though this can be better handled with a will).  It’s not what most people are thinking of, however, when they’re getting “married”.

Now it’s often the case that people think that bringing a prenuptial agreement into the equation “ruins the romance”.  This is unjustified.  What a prenuptial agreement is is nothing more than telling the government: “Hey, I like some of the ways you guys handle property, children, and other asset distribution if we seperate, but I don’t particularly like how such and such a condition is handled.  I would rather these assets be divided this way, instead of that way.”

What I hope you see is that the “marriage license” you’re filling out with the government is just as lacking in romance as the prenuptial agreement.  Marriage law seems mainly geared toward who gets what upon seperation, or making sure the spouse gets the assets upon death of the other.  Not exactly romantic stuff.

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