- Relationships are strengthened when couples are able to talk about money.
- Prenuptial agreements protect spouses and their family.
- A spouse remains a compulsory heir as a prenuptial agreement is valid only during the lifetime of a marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are valuable to asset and wealth protection, yet it is often ignored due to the perceived difficulty in discussing the topic about money.
Many couples are so in-love with each other that they are quite comfortable talking about anything, from their deepest fears, most embarassing experience, to their happiest moments.
Yet, money is a taboo topic.
Why is that?
Perhaps nobody wants to be the that TV character who ruins the relationship over money or be the one to make things awkward between them.
“Let’s talk about money,” is just something you don’t say in a relationship many would say. Is “who pays the bills” or “why did you mortgage our home” also something you don’t say in a relationship?
Because these things do happen, along with many other things once the couple gets married, acquires conjugal properties, and have children.
Time and again, we hear it often that money is one of the main reasons why couples fight and why relationships break down.
Hence, for something so important, why-o-why is it something that should not be discussed?
It is mainly due to TV novelas and their negative portrayal of this topic. People’s attitude and expectations have been shaped by the drama created by these shows, which are mostly incorrect if not outright false.
When in truth, a prenuptial agreement will likely improve the relationship between a couple.
Relationships are strengthened when couples are able to talk about money.
Why not talk about money when it is something so ingrained in a relationship?
Tell me whether the last meal you had was paid by your love for one another. Once you buy home, your real estate agent will likely not accept your mutual trust for one another as a down-payment. When you have children, their school will likely demand a check from you instead of your undying support from one another.
Yes, if you as a couple are mature enough, you know this is the unvarnished truth. There is no sugarcoating it. You need money to do things in this life.
Why then shy away from this topic?
If you indeed love, as well as have mutual trust and undying support, for one another, then your relationship will only get stronger if you overcome whatever hesitation you might have on discussing the topic about money.
Get yourselves grounded in reality for a moment from your cloud nine of forever.
Should you tie the knot, learn more about prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial agreements protect the spouses and their family.
Some years back, a radio commentator was interviewing a wife about her husband developing a gambling addiction. She explained that his husband was the one who managaed their businesses since he was a good husband and father to his children for many years. She was thus surprised when creditors and business associates came knocking collecting debts or asking back their investment. She would later on learn the truth that her husband had developed a gambling addiction unknown to her for quite some time. He ended up squandering their savings, selling their properties, and tanking their businesses.
This is one of many stories that we have already encountered or heard in one form or another. We know all too well the moral lessons that we can pick up from this narrative.
Curiously, we do not seem to think that this will happen to our own lives – until it does. Thinking that we are the exception makes us the general rule in these situations.
We can never really know for certain what will happen in the future, that we can all agree on.
Can we all also agree that we can also never really know for certain what will happen to us or our partners? Yes, you are not excused.
Either one of the spouses may develop some addiction, take out a huge loan, mortgage the home, or any other action that would result in liabilities. When any of these happen, the entire conjugal assets may be open to the risk of being executed by a creditor bent on getting back his money.
That is, unless the spouses have a prenuptial agreement.
If they have one and it is a complete separation of properties, then only the assets of the concerned spouse, or the one who incurred a debt or liability, will be held liable.
The assets of the other spouse cannot be held liable. That’s the primary value of a prenuptial agreement. Any liability of a spouse is limited to his or her own properties.
Say a spouse incurs a liability of Php5 Million and he/she only has Php3 Million worth of assets, the remaining Php2 Million cannot be charged against the other spouse who may have Php2 Million in assets. This arrangement protects the spouses and their family from going totally bankrupt as in the case if there is no prenuptial agreeement.
If you are not comfortable with Math, the point is simple: a spouse’s debt or liabilities will be is his/her own. Period.
A spouse remains a compulsory heir as a prenuptial agreement is valid only during the lifetime of a marriage.
A prenuptial agreement will not exclude a spouse from being a compulsory heir of the other. Philippine law does not allow the contrary.
Unlike in certain States in the U.S. or in other jurisdictions where a prenuptial agreement can write off a spouse from becoming an heir in case the other dies, this is not allowed in the Philippines as the family is protected by the State through local laws. Meaning, any stipulation to that effect will be void. This is without prejudice to grounds or cases of disinheritance or disqualification, such as a spouse killing the other.
On a related note, even if spouses are estranged and no longer talking to each other for 20 years, the surviving spouse will inherit from the deceased spouse notwithstanding. They are, after all, legally married even if they have separate families already. This creates a tidal wave of problems for those left behind.
As may be observed, a prenuptial agreement is only valid during the lifetime of a marriage. Once it is dissolved as in death of another, all protection and benefits likewise disappear with the marriage.
In short, and to be very clear, whether or not there is a prenuptial agreement between spouses during the lifetime of their marriage, they are placed in the same footint when it comes to succession and inheritance, i.e. the surviving spouse inherits from the other, unless otherwise provided by law.
With all these being said, there is evidently more to be gained by having a prenuptial agreement and more to lose by having none. For any argument that it will destroy the relationship, you may want to learn from numerous accounts of couples whose relationships have only strengthened and matured because they were willing to discuss that little thing that puts food on the table, keep the lights on, and pays the travel and leisure. You know what it is.
Bonus: Rami Sethi on Prenuptial Agreements: