If you ain't no punk holla' we want pre-nup
WE WANT PRE-NUP!, yeah --Kanye West
One of my favorite parts of riding the train is engaging in and non-intentionally listening to other conversations. There is something about the train that makes people feel comfortable talking to complete strangers. I talked to some ladies about homelessness and gentrification, a girl behind me talked to an Italian exchange student about American culture, and an older couple talked to a group of Air Force Cadets and their girlfriends about pre-nups.
This last conversation caught my attention the most. I am not sure how they even got on the conversation but the older woman on the train thought they were a horrible idea because it means you are going into a marriage expecting failure. She went on a long speech about how you do not need one if you really know the person you are marrying, and if you are getting one-- you clearly don't have trust in the relationship. The cadets disagreed with her, as did I; maybe it's a generational thing.
Having actually written an entire pre-nuptial agreement for a client this summer and knowing what goes into them, I think they can be especially useful for certain people (disparities in income, marrying later in life, people with a lot of property, people who have child pay or receive child support statements from previous marriages, etc), especially in community property states like California where everything gets split right down the middle.
Ultimately I think it's a personal decision and has no bearing on the success of a marriage. 95% of people do not get pre-nups yet 1/2 of all marriages still end in divorce. Maybe it's these statistics that make my generation more open to the idea. And maybe we see good people like family friends, aunts and uncles, or even our own parents (well not mine, still going strong after 25 years) get divorced. I still think that most people getting married really do want to make a lifetime commitment and want to make it work, but sometimes it just does not for so many reasons.
To automatically state that people getting pre-nups have trust issues, don't know who they are marrying, or are dooming themselves from the start is a little silly. I wonder how this woman would feel if we made assumptions about divorcees. She was on her fourth marriage and her husband was on his third (and had most of his assets taken away by wife number two).