There are a number of factors and behaviors that commonly lead to divorce: infidelity, emotional/physical abuse and drug/alcohol abuse, just to name a few. Many people don’t realize, however, that marriages can also fail for reasons that seem much more mundane.
According to the results of a study published earlier this year, couples who have significantly differing views on financial matters are twice as likely to get divorced as couples who either share the same views or can learn to reconcile differing views.
Financial attitudes can assimilate or diverge during marriage
The study looked at differing attitudes about money, including willingness to take financial risks and aversion to financial risk-taking. Even if couples did not have similar views at the beginning of marriage, many did grow to assimilate their styles over time. Those who assimilated or already had matching views were at a lower risk for divorce. Those who couldn’t reconcile their differences remained at higher risk.
How could a prenuptial agreement help?
Prenuptial agreements can make the divorce process far simpler, faster and less contentious. However, there doesn’t seem to be much research testing whether a prenuptial agreement has any impact on a couple’s likelihood of divorce. Many people assume that these agreements would increase the risk of a divorce because they are “unromantic,” or would suggest that partners don’t trust one another.
Conversely, there are others who argue that a prenuptial agreement could potentially reduce the risk of divorce by requiring an engaged couple to have a difficult but important conversation about financial attitudes and goals. No one likes to discuss money during the more passionate stages of a relationship. But if you are building a life with someone else, money is a topic you cannot avoid. Drafting a prenuptial agreement could be a good way to broach the topic and to assess whether you and your fiancé are (or could be) financially compatible.
Approaching an agreement carefully and sensitively
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important to be tactful and respectful in how you discuss the idea with your fiancé. Additionally, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney in drafting the agreement and ensuring that each party confers with a separate attorney before signing.
If you’d like to learn more about our firm’s approach to these important contracts, feel free to visit the prenuptial and postnuptial agreements page on our website.