Same-sex couples now considering prenuptial agreements

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states to recognize same-sex marriage. Although same-sex marriage has only been on the books for a few years, same-sex couples here and across the country are encountering some of the issues common to all married relationships when couples decide to divorce. Although some couples have resisted it, others are considering whether to create a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot.

In one attorney’s opinion, the hesitation to obtain a prenuptial agreement in a same-sex relationship may stem from a couple’s perspective on the advent of same-sex marriage. He asserts that pragmatic considerations, such as a prenuptial agreement, may diminish the allure of marriage to same-sex couples, who view marriage as a fulfillment of a civil right.

But those ordinary, pragmatic considerations can provide great benefit to same-sex couples in the event that their marriage comes to an end. According to one marriage therapist, same-sex partners may be more likely to have widely differing incomes and net worth. Prenuptial agreements can help to ensure that, if a couple does divorce, their assets are divided the way they want.

The story of two same-sex partners provides an example of the initial pause that can occur when broaching the subject of a prenuptial agreement. The two had dated for three months when one woman asked her partner about making an agreement. She had encountered difficulty over finances in a prior relationship and wanted to prevent such issues from happening again.

In time and after some discussion, her partner agreed. And instead of getting in the way of romance, the woman stated that the prenuptial agreement allowed it to move to the forefront. The agreement settled financial matters and helped them to go forward with the relationship.

Source: The New York Times, “If ‘Forever’ Doesn’t Work Out: The Same-Sex Prenup,” Louise Rafkin, March 23, 2012.

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