First Marriage Pre-nups

It often takes a failed marriage or two before someone is convinced of the value of a pre-nup. A pre-nup before the second or third marriage, while much more common than a first-marriage pre-nup, is something akin to locking the barn door after one of the horses has escaped.

We have a page on this site which discusses pre-nups in detail, which shows that under Nevada law, a pre-nup can deal with almost any issue that is likely to come up in the marriage.

An excellent op-ed in a recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, (Fairness in Housework) makes it clear that its what we might think of as “little things” that sink many marriages and cause much unhappiness. In sum, a pre-nup before the first marriage is more important than a pre-nup after the first marriage has failed. The goal is to keep the first marriage intact and its participants comfortable, productive and content. The economic cost of divorce is terrible and the effect of divorce on children is even worse. Work out all the issues that are likely to arise with a counselor and then put them down in the form of a pre-nuptual agreement, to emphasize their importance.

Then get married.. Though it should, but doesn’t have to, list and value any significant property either spouse-to-be owns at marriage, a First-Marriage pre–nup doesn’t have to otherwise even mention property. Community property concepts can and usually should remain untouched.