Legal Lessons from Kanye West
I remember the exact moment I first heard the word “prenup”. The year was 2005 and I was in high school. I was cruising down the road, without a care in the world, when I heard Kanye West so eloquently rap the following lyrics: “If you ain’t no punk, holla ‘We want prenup! We want prenup! YEAH!’ It’s something that you need to have, cause when she leave your a** she gonna leave with half!”
I was confused. “What’s a prenup?” I asked myself. When I got home, I promptly asked my mother and her response was, “It’s something for rich people to sign before they get married so they won’t lose all their money if they end up divorcing”. Her answer satisfied my curiosity and I went about contemplating what color I wanted to paint my nails.
Flash forward 7 years later to when I’m sitting in my family law class and learning that maybe Kanye was somewhat bitter towards prenups. A Premarital Agreement (a.k.a. prenup) is a contract entered into between two people in anticipation of marriage to one another. When correctly executed, a premarital agreement can do a lot of things. It can protect each party’s assets in the event of separation, divorce, death and completely alleviate the need to fight it out in court. What it cannot do is dictate how often the couple will have sex or who has to do the dishes every night. Additionally, there must be complete disclosure, meaning that one party cannot try to hide their Swiss bank accounts, and they most certainly cannot force their partner to sign the agreement.
There are many strong opinions about premarital agreements. Kanye certainly has one. But every relationship is unique and couples have the right to create a marriage that will best serve their needs. With that being said, a premarital agreement is either going to save you from future expensive litigation or put an abrupt end to an engagement. However, I think we can all agree that you are most definitely not a punk if you choose to marry without a prenup.