When you see an elderly couple holding hands at the mall, or when you talk with someone who has been married 60 years, are you ever moved to tears because you know you will never have that? I am. Those moments are reminders that our souls have dreams of which our minds may or may not be conscious. Unless you are 20 or 30, you are probably right, you will not have the experience of being married to someone for 60-plus years. But, did you know you can overwrite old dreams with new dreams and live more joyfully? You can choose to dream a new dream. You can set a new goal, and you can let every day be a step in the direction of that new dream!
If one of your dreams is a long-term relationship with a companion, fear of making “another” mistake can prevent or delay our willingness to take the risk again. This can result in years in limbo that could have been counting toward that new dream of 30 or 40 years with a partner in your quest for happily ever after.
If you are in a relationship that could go the distance, but you are afraid (for any number of reasons) to commit and actually walk down the aisle, a number of my clients would say get a premarital agreement and then just do it!
Premarital agreements are magic; they can do anything! Really! Follow me here. They can take away obstacles. They can take away fear. They can take away stress. They can open doors. They can make your mom happy. They can make your dad happy. They may make your grandparent happy. They can make the board happy. They can make your kids happy. They can support your marriage. They can provide for your financial security (no matter which side you are on.) They can protect assets for both of you. They can encourage fidelity. They can help monitor fidelity. They can provide for future kids. They can provide compensation. And when you don’t need them anymore, they can even disappear.
Two clients and even two lawyers may look at premarital agreements and see different things. Sure premarital agreements may be deal killers. They can be all quid and no quo. They may fence everything in and nothing out, or everything out and nothing in. They may be the fulcrum on which your best years are pried away from you for nothing. They may define the pin point that pops the balloon of hope. They may be the knife that severs your security. They may define a path to a dead end, a box canyon or a cliff. They may become the flagpole on which your chair is perched.
Experience has shown me that premarital agreements are just tools. A tradesman may use the same tools employed by an artist. The same tools that shaped the stones for the floor of the coliseum in Rome may have been used by Michelangelo to carve the statue of David.
A premarital agreement can open the door to a walk down the road of happily ever after.
The only thing a premarital agreement can’t do – is write itself. That takes a lawyer. Though the pages are flat, the agreement doesn’t have to be. It can be multidimensional; it can be flexible; it can change over time. Before you’ve seen great art, you may not comprehend the things that can be fashioned from a block of stone or canvas and paint. The same is true for paper and ink.
Do you know a lawyer who thinks outside the norm (or outside the form) on premarital agreements? Do you know a lawyer who has looked at premarital agreements from both sides a lot of times? Do you know a lawyer who has contested, defended and enforced premarital agreements? If you are shaping cobble stones, you still need a tradesman, but many will do. I find that collectors of art, like to know the artist.
A well-drafted premarital agreement can enable a couple to take that next step toward happily ever after. A thoughtfully crafted agreement can help dreams come true.
On another topic, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued the Obergefell opinion. In the next issue, we will discuss some of the implications of Obergefell. Dennis A. Fuller