01st Oct 2013

Prenuptials – Health insurance for the marriage or extended warranty?

Prenuptial agreements are recognised as being a good idea

…and yet a singularly unromantic one.

People recognise that it is wise to make provision for what will happen to the matrimonial assets should the marriage come to an end.

They see the sense in contemplating what provisions should be put in place to ensure that both parties have certainty should the very worst, and the least wanted and least expected thing, happen, and yet there is a wide aversion to them amongst a surprisingly romantic public and large parts of the family law profession alike.

Making arrangements in case the marriage comes to an end is almost unpalatable.

This is curious.

Many people invest in health or critical illness insurance.

When they do this there is no desire for ill health, nor is there any concern that if they contemplate ill health that the likelihood of it happening is any more pronounced than it was before.

We do not take a view that making provision in case our good health ends is sceptical or somehow demonstrates a lack of faith in our expectation of good health.  All we are doing is acknowledging and trying to level out the peaks and troughs of uncertainties that might arise in the future.

Why is the same not true when it comes to levelling out the equally unattractive peaks and troughs that the end of a marriage could cause?

As it is, talking about pre-nuptial agreements is often as unwelcome as trying to offer an extended warranty on an electrical goods purchase.

This insurance product has very different connotations to the critical illness.

When we are offered extended warranties our response is often not “This is a wise thing to do.” but, instead “They are trying to sell me something I neither think I will need nor want.”  If they push too hard we get increasingly concerned and start to suspect that the purchase we have just made was a mistake and that these goods are the most fallible and unreliable items we have ever had the misfortune to buy.

And so it is with pre-nuptial agreements.

Talking about pre-nuptial agreements raises the most unwelcome of all spectres, namely that this union we are about to celebrate, might not be as invincible as the persistent `Happily ever after’ myths we are brought up to believe.  This myth is so core to our culture that even contemplating its fallibility and any future separation arouses such strong concerns and anxieties that we would rather turn away instead of putting safeguards and buffers in place.