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The Plain English Attorney


“Prenups don’t work!” the YouTuber practically screamed into the microphone, lamenting the downfall of men everywhere whose fortunes were being stolen from their gold-digging exes. [Insert eyeroll here.] “A man works for years, decides to marry a woman, and insists on a prenup. They sign one, and then she leaves taking half his stuff because the prenup means nothing!”

As an attorney, I have an ingrained way of thinking about situations that was baked into me throughout law school. It’s something I can’t turn off, and many good attorneys will tell you the same thing. In law school, you are pushed to objectively analyze a situation, review the different legal principles in your mind, tick off the pros and cons, and come to a conclusion. This happens automatically in my mind without prompting, and it applies in all situations for me, not just work. The next step in this imposed way of thinking when you actually have a client in front of you is to reexamine that whole process trying to advocate for the points that favor the client and downplay, excuse, or dismiss the points that don’t.

The YouTuber is screaming into the void because he is doing none of this and the problem is a lot of people may be listening to the screaming because they want to feel like they aren’t the only ones in a failed relationship who lost out in a divorce. (And it doesn’t matter if it’s men or women since everyone feels like they lost in a divorce.) He’s responding emotionally without a real, objective examination of the legal principles. Premarital agreements can be done successfully, and you probably won’t hear about it on YouTube when they are. Why not? Because, like I said, even with a successful premarital agreement in a divorce, no one is ever thrilled with the outcome of their divorce. Think of having to change a flat tire on an empty road but you have a good spare tire, the jack, and even wipes to clean up afterward; you’re relieved you got the tire changed, but you’re not thrilled because you had to change the tire in the first place.

So why do some premarital agreements fail, and how do you make sure a premarital agreement in your situation doesn’t fail? Here are the top seven reasons prenups fail.







While premarital agreements need to include various terms in a balanced manner under state law, these seven factors can destroy the intent of the agreement. Putting together a prenup also isn’t as simple as signing the document and then going about life. It requires that your life take note and comply with the agreement you both created and, just like marriage, that takes a little work.


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