I Do With Conditions - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

I Do With Conditions

 More and more people across the nation are getting pre-marital agreements, or pre-nups. So, we set out to find out why, and if they are a curse before anyone even says, "I do".

"Pre-marital agreements are totally inconsistent with the concept of getting married. I love you. I love you. I love you, but all of my stuff will always be mine," said Family Law Attorney Richard Sutherland.

Sutherland has been writing up pre-marital agreements for 34 years. He said he has not seen them rise in Wichita Falls, but the demographic is a little different. 

"The most common ones, are the people who are on second or subsequent marriages with children", Sutherland said. "So they are primarily concerned about avoiding problems in a probate proceeding after one of them has died. Although the pre-marital agreement is going to come into play either in a divorce or in death."

Sutherland told us these agreements are not for everyone, nor does everyone need one to make things work and protect their interests. 

"If they're wage earners, they probably don't want, nor do they need a pre-marital agreement. If they are entrepreneurs or small business owners they probably would want a pre-marital agreement, because they are going to be recharacterizing the income", says Sutherland.

Everyone needs to understand, a pre-marital agreement is hard to break once it is signed. Sutherland said it really should not be taken lightly or rushed into. He said, there should be planning before the wedding bells ring, and he's not the only one that believes that. 

"If this couple talks through it, and they both are 100-percent in agreement that this would be okay for us to do, and they're really agreed, it's not just kind of "wink wink, okay" and to make a prenup then maybe that would be okay. I think that the person that i want to commit to spend the rest of my life with is a person that i would need to trust," said Grace Church Family Pastor Reggie Coe. 

Coe told us he hasn't seen a pre-nup couple make it yet. 

"If marriage is the bonding of two people that are separate, now they've become one we're going to be one in everything but the financial area? That seems to me, to be a disconnect," said Coe.

He told us he feels that a strong Christian foundation is where to begin. Then, some pre-marital counseling may be able to let the couple know, if now is the right time or not to marry. It all comes down to faith and trust in each other. 

"Sometimes a pre-nup is a prescription for a marriage to end if things get tough and they don't work out," said Coe.

One thing Reggie Coe told us and Richard Sutherland agreed on, was that if a couple does agree to a pre-nup it is after long conversations and major financial planning. Also both sides need legal council to protect themselves. It's just not right for everyone.

Another theory as to why pre-nups are on the rise, is that people are waiting longer to get married and end up with more assets they have worked hard for and want to protect.

Chris Horgen, Newschannel 6
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