Prenups: Not planning to fail, but planning not to fail.

Prenups: Not planning to fail, but planning not to fail. Photo: John Woudstra

Forget $200 for counselling. If we're serious about a society of stronger, happier relationships, prenups should be a mandatory part of marriage.

In fact, in view of the fact "prenups", or binding financial agreements, are also available to people who are in de facto and same-sex relationships, perhaps they should be a mandatory aspect of monogamy.

And the signing of them should be celebrated with the same gusto as we mark the marking of marriage certificates. Or likewise sign of commitment - We've bought the house, but we organised our finances first – come enjoy our BFA buffet and toast to love and commonsense!

Don't you agree?

Watching my parents divorce brought a few things home to me as a teen. Thou shalt not be put in a position where thy financial security depends on another person. Thou shalt not wash one's hands of hoop-jumping, painful though it may be. And thou shalt clearly establish the reasons for and expectations of marriage long before marriage is actually done.

I had thought the best way to avoid all this heartache was to simply never get married.

I am now about to get married.

So there goes that resolution.

Hence, I find myself looking for a lawyer to help draw up my side of the bargain, as the law requires. I am going to be copping the short-term expense sweet as I look to long-term satisfaction. I am swatting away criticism. I am reminding myself I am not planning to fail – I am just not failing to plan.

Most importantly, I am talking about all of this with my soon-to-be-husband. We are on the same page. No one is pushing, as the law requires. We've been open and honest from the start. If we weren't, we probably wouldn't be getting married. In that sense a prenup is like a litmus test.

Basically, no one feels as though the prenup is a problem – no one within the relationship that is.

Some people, on the other hand, just can't help crying out in horror when they hear what we're up to.

“What do you mean you're getting a prenup? Don't you trust him? More importantly, does he not trust you?” they'll say.

“What a romance killer – why would you ruin the love by locking it up in a legal document?” (This friend clearly forgot the legal essence of Australian marriage.)

My response is always the same. I am crazy in love, but I am not crazy.

It's interesting. The whole "doing" of love involves losing one's mind and making bold statements no rational mind would ever commit to – like not possibly living without so-and-so, and so-forth. We learn that love is somehow beyond the realm of reality – love is divine – and so anything from the hum-drum mundane world that seeks to impinge on that gorgeous grace is bad. That's why people go bonkers booking big weddings – they're in love, hang the cost and the commonsense.

I think being madly in love is good, but I think behaving madly is bad. And mad behaviour includes not paying proper mind to the fact that, while the joy you find in each other is magnificent, you still live in mortal world governed by rules, shaped by responsibilities. And those rules and responsibilities apply to us all, no matter what we may think.

So, I believe that, as we live in a society where relationships – be they matrimonial, de facto, same-sex, etc – are governed by laws, ignoring those laws is perilous, and more should be done make people omniscient of this fact. Having to organise a prenup, or binding financial agreement, might be the right way to do so.

Especially in consideration of the fact Australians are now more likely to cohabit without getting hitched than before. And there is greater parity between men and women than before. It stands to reason that if we're occupying new social territory, we should reconsider old social attitudes.

We should start looking at prenups as a good way to make sure people who are decided to commit to each other properly scrutinise their decisions, and be held accountable to them. In some ways, a prenup could fill the role priests used to play. The church used to govern our society, now economics plays a greater part – so if there's no fear of God, why not invoke fear of financial ruin to keep people on the straight and narrow?

Great love affairs are beautiful things, but they're even greater when beautifully organised.

That's why prenups should be a mandatory part of marriage, and any other long-term committed relationship for that matter.

Don't you agree?

Katherine Feeney is a journalist with the Nine Network Australia.

Katherine.f.feeney@gmail.com

@katherinefeeney

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