Emotional prenups: How does that make you feel?
Since the marriage of Mark Zuckerberg to his wife Priscilla, the subject of alternative prenuptial agreements has been raised. Reports suggest that Priscilla made a unique, and beneficial, move to have Zuckerberg sign a pre-prenuptial agreement. The document outlined certain requirements that were to be met in order for her to move across the country to live with him. Since this came to light, many couples are exploring different options when it comes to prenuptial agreements.
One such agreement has been called the “emotional prenup.” While it is legally nonbinding, an emotional prenuptial agreement is aimed at holding couples accountable for certain behaviors. While a traditional prenup can include guidelines for dividing assets or making spousal support, emotional prenups include guidelines for communication and dividing up household chores.
In some extreme cases, couples are dictating and dividing who will be responsible for helping kids with their homework, who will be in charge of doing the dishes or paying the bills and even guidelines for bedroom behavior.
Some of the more effective emotional prenups focus less on these day-to-day activities of a marriage and more on the values and emotions of a couple. One example of an emotional prenup may state that spouses will treat each other with dignity during arguments and that they will refrain from resorting to contempt or sarcasm.
While the process of drawing up these agreements may give spouses some peace of mind, the agreement itself holds no legal weight. Still, this type of agreement may be beneficial for some couples. It is important to keep in mind, though, that an emotional prenup may not be the only agreement a couple needs to consider.
Marriages do not end because a spouse did not hold up his or her end of a laundry clause. They do not end because of a sarcastic comment. Marriages are complex and difficult. Understanding this and taking proactive measures to protect yourself as an individual can be a good move. Even though emotional prenups and marriages are based on the “we” of a couple, it is still important to protect the “me” that is involved. If a marriage does not work out for whatever reason, having a traditional prenuptial agreement in place can come in quite handy.
Source: The Huffington Post, “The Emotional Prenup,” Mindy Utay, June 14, 2012