Till Prenup Do Us Part

A US$1 million signing bonus? No, that’s not the windfall of a hotshot football player for jumping to another team. It’s a stipulation in a prenuptial agreement (popularly known as prenup) between an engaged man and woman. Linda Lea Viken, president-elect of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), negotiated the said prenup. “My client was giving up her career as an accountant to marry an up-and-coming basketball star. Of course with a basketball star you are going to be moving around a lot—we call that lost economic opportunity. So I said I wanted a signing bonus”. (Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100927/lf_nm_life/us_marriage_prenups)

So now marriages are defined not just by passion but also by the purse. The AAML noticed the increase in such prenups in the last five years among middle-class couples which before were confined only among the wealthy and the well-known. According to Marlene Eskind Moses of AAML, “Sometimes people put in conditions like the amount of sex they must have, and behavior in the marriage like the number of days a week one spouse can go out without the other. The sky is the limit in what people can contract”. (Ibid) The fine prints of the contract range from serious financial matters (like separate bank accounts, retirement benefits and protection against debts incurred by one of the spouses before the marriage) to trivial personal issues (such as who gets the dog when they divorce). Moses justifies the prenup trend. It’s a planning tool. Given that half of marriages end in divorce it makes sense to plan… to safeguard their assets when a marriage crumbles… People marry for love and that certainly is important but people also need to understand that it’s a legal holding that affects their holdings. It is important to marry for love but to understand the ripple effect”. (Ibid)

Prenups may be needed in some marriages. But, instead of preparing for divorce, I think couples should rather prepare for “till death do us part.” The efforts poured in poring over the fine prints of the prenup can best be put in pursuing intimacy in marriage, such as obeying Ephesians 5:33. “So each husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and each wife should respect her husband.” (CEV) Instead of merely safeguarding their assets in case of a divorce, I believe married people should safeguard their marriage as their most important asset.

Brethren, what God has joined together, let not prenup separate.

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