7. Speed up a divorce transition so you can get on with your life. Divorce is painful, no matter what. But the pain is compounded when it drags on and keeps you from moving on with your life. While an uncontested divorce takes about three to four months to finalize, a contested divorce averages 12 months but may require up to 24 months.[vii] Imagine spending a year or more living under the same roof and paying shared bills when the only thing you want to do is to start over. Often, the emotional exhaustion of extended litigation will encourage a physician to simply settle a case, no matter how unfair it seems to “get it over with.”
Getting a prenup isn’t hard. It’s not very expensive, especially compared to the cost of a complicated divorce, and it takes far less time to arrange than a divorce proceeding. All you need for a prenup is to visit an attorney (actually two attorneys, as each partner must have independent legal representation to ensure a complete and fair understanding of the agreement) and should be done well in advance of the wedding date. While there is no definitive time frame for signing a prenup, the longer the better, says Juan Mendoza, an attorney in Bonita Springs, Florida. “It’s important that neither side can argue during a divorce that they were pressured into signing. This could potentially void the agreement.”
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Of course, the biggest hang-up in getting a prenup is the emotional aspect, including normal concerns: Am I setting up the relationship for failure? Will I be less committed to the marriage if I have an “out?” Will my partner be upset with me for suggesting a prenup? These are issues that should be talked about openly with your future spouse. The best relationships are built on caring compromise. If you can’t have a discussion and come to an agreement now, while you are madly in love and planning your wedding vows, how can you hope to have an amicable ending to a relationship in the event of a divorce?
So in between showing off your gorgeous engagement ring and planning your beautiful ceremony and honeymoon, take the time to get a prenuptial agreement. Hopefully, you will never need it, but why take the chance? Because situations can change, and if one day if you face a divorce, you will wish you had one. I know I did, and the second time around I was smarter. Although the fact that he agreed without hesitation tells me that this time, I probably won’t need it.
[i] BMJ 2015;350:h706
[iv] Understanding the Medical Marriage: Physicians and Their Partners Share Strategies for Success Perlman, Rachel L. MD; Ross, Paula T. PhD; Lypson, Monica L. MD, MHPE Academic Medicine: January 2015 - Volume 90 - Issue 1 - p 63–68