Marriage is a beautiful thing. It signifies the matrimonial bond and lifelong commitment that two persons are willingly giving themselves to one another. But, marriage can also be an awkward experience, especially for those couples contemplating a prenuptial agreement (“prenupt”) before the big day. The awkwardness surrounding prenupts can be uncomfortable and foster misconceptions about them. One of the biggest myths about prenupts is that people who want them do not truly love or trust their future spouse to be. A person’s interest in a prenuptial agreement, by default, does not necessarily indicate one’s uncertainty regarding the marriage, or make the commitment to marry another any less genuine. In our society, it is in our best interests to plan ahead, and that is nothing more than what a prenupt is meant to do. And given the high divorce rate in our country, planning ahead is not ill-advised.
A prenuptial agreement, also known as an antenuptual agreement, is a contractual agreement executed in contemplation of (before) marriage, which often undertakes to affect spouses’ rights and obligations during the marriage, as well as on its termination by divorce or death of a spouse. Prenupts may vary in terms of simplicity and complexity. As a result, prenupts may contain a vast array of provisions that govern many different aspects of the marriage and/or a future divorce. The most recognizable prenupt provision is the infamous adultery provision that provides legal repercussions for a spouse’s adulterous activity during the marriage. Basically, whatever is legally permissible to agree upon and does not violate some inherent Mississippi public policy may be included in a prenupt, including agreements in anticipation of divorce such as agreements regarding property division.