Thursday, February 21, 2008

If in Doubt, Say No (or Get a Prenup)

Last week, a Houston Rockets fan conjured up what he thought was the perfect proposal. The scene was set at the Houston Toyota Center and - well, here's how it went...

Here, the proposed-to-spouse had the wherewithal to decline her suitor's request. Although it may seem obvious to most to not enter a marriage with doubts, academic studies have shown that a number of Americans do just that. The common result? Divorce within two to six years. University of Texas professor Ted Huston studied the phenomenon and termed the couples "early exiters." Huston believes that a number of early exiters enter marriage with the notion that matters will improve once they are wed, but quickly find their relationship only getting worse. Upon realizing that the deterioration of the relationship will be perpetual, the couple cuts their losses and files for divorce.

For those convinced a more romantic future awaits (but rational enough to preserve their property rights), the prenuptial agreement may be the legal solution. A prenuptial agreement is executed by the parties before the marriage, and can achieve any of several objectives: defining certain assets as community or separate property; clarifying that certain transfers from one spouse to another are gifts; waiving or specifying one spouse's right to alimony in the event of a divorce; or characterizing certain debts of one spouse or the other as community or separate indebtedness. Just the legal protection for the mate that just can't say "No."

Marriage Proposal Rejected at BasketBall Game [YouTube]
What's Love Got to Do With It? [University of Texas]

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