No Prenuptial? Ouch!

Hi there,

I keep getting sidetracked from the 10 Steps In The Divorce Process by breaking news stories and I have to admit this one (Mel Gibson’s divorce) is a bit tacky!

Admittedly when Mel Gibson married he could have had no idea as to how phenomenally successful he was going to be. He also, given his very public religious convictions, probably did not anticipate a divorce, but still…

Most states, including Massachusetts, recognize the validity of prenuptial agreements.  Mr Gibson hails from Australia, so perhaps at the time he married it was not an option; but here and now if there are, or may be, considerable assets, a prenup is a good thing. Prenups are important to consider if you or your spouse is marrying for the second time and there are children of the first marriage; if there is an inheritance expected in the future; if one party or the other has an interest in a family business. Prenups cannot decide anything regarding children but pretty much everything else can be dealt with.

I do have a warning, or perhaps caution is a better word, prenups do require partners to talk about finances but the process can be extremely fraught. Here you are planning a wedding AND deciding who gets the wedding presents when you divorce.  I am not personally in favor of prenups for ordinary people, like me, for that reason.

However, if you are planning to be Mel Gibson; or you have wealthy parents, children from a prior marriage, or considerable wealth already and you are thinking of getting married…consider a prenup. In Massachusetts, with both sides having separate, competent counsel, absent fraud and with full disclosure, they are pretty much bullet proof.

Best,

Nancy

1 Comment


  1. I have to respectfully disagree with one point on your post- specifically that prenups or not for “ordinary” people.
    Mel Gibson was an ordinary person when he got married.
    Disagreement over finances is the #1 cause of divorce in this country. For that reason, if for nothing else, the prenup process forces the couple to talk about finances and perhaps realize their differences in handling money and their respective goals in life. Most couples I deal with never had that talk and they’re surprised to find out that their new spouse was either hiding debt, money or has a totally different outlook on saving and spending money.
    In my opinion, ordinary people need it more than people like Mel Gibson because Mel Gibson, even after losing 40 million dollars, still has 40 million dollars. Ordinary people cannot afford a costly divorce so as family law practitioners, we should give them the tools to not have to divorce in the first place.
    Here’s my recent blog post on prenups and let me know if you disagree.
    Great blog btw!

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