Fear and Loathing in Marriage: The Psychological and Financial Destruction Caused by Prenuptial
Mentor:Kurt Meyer, Professor of English, Irvine Valley College
Historically, prenuptial agreements as a condition of saying “I do” were sought out by the economically stronger partner as financial protection from divorce. Currently, legal experts and financial advisors agree the general use of prenuptial agreements is on the rise. A random poll suggests that over half of the general public view prenuptial agreements favorably. This presentation examines how prenuptial agreements—despite being characterized as a path to a quicker, more reasonable and dignified way to end marriage—too often undermine and prematurely end marriage by implicitly predicting the future and preventing equality within the marriage. Personal interviews conducted for this research are experts on this subject in fields of law, psychology, marriage and family therapy and religious advisors providing evidence that prenuptial agreement are destructive and erode the central benefits of marriage, namely unconditional love, equality, security, emotional and physical satisfaction, and financial stability. Social media and personal interviews conducted identify P.A.S.S., (Prenuptial Agreement Sadness/Stress Syndrome) as a novel condition associated with the harmful aspects of prenuptial agreements in spouses and former spouses. Interviews note the financially weaker partner will fixate on the prenuptial agreement presenting feelings of frustration, insecurity, resentment, depression, isolation, paranoia, low self-esteem, and fear about the future. Additionally, participating legal experts admit prenuptial agreements alter the balance in marriage favoring the financially stronger partner over the partner of lesser means diminishing or eliminating marital rights otherwise protected by law, specifically, community property rights, inheritance, financial support and retirement. Professionals interviewed agree that a direct consequence of the prenuptial agreement not offering financial consideration to the individual of lesser means is financially devastating when the marriage ends in divorce or death of spouse. Admittedly, marital relationships are changing; yet prenuptial agreements establishing money as the focus of the marriage prohibit marriage as a long-term investment.