Christmas and the holidays are the most festive and romantic time of year. 43% of engagements happen between November and January, with the top proposal dates as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. (These believable but unsourced statistics were found on Wedding Wire and Elite Daily).
For farm families, the addition of a “non-blood” member of the family causes mixed feelings. Of course, you want to be happy that your loved one found a loved one, but because of the high divorce rate (3.2 divorces per 1,000 people in the US, according to the CDC) this new member of the family is also a new and scary risk to the farm operation.
Prenuptial Agreements (Prenups) are a good idea for any marriage, but are especially important for farm families. If you read the farm planning material I post on this website, you know that my mantra is “discussion, discussion, discussion” when it comes to farm planning. Full disclosure applies to the incoming spouse, too. While you might not want the newest “outlaw” in the family to know the finer details of your business, you also don’t want him (or her) to learn of the extent of your farm operation during the middle of divorce, when compassion and understanding is not usually part of the process.
Prenups offer an “eyes wide open” approach to asset management in a marriage. Where a farm kid may own or inherit substantial farm assets, what happens to those assets in the event of a divorce can discussed and agreed before the marriage occurs. In Indiana, once you are married, it is considered to be against public policy to make those decisions after the rings are exchanged.
Attorney Polly Dobbs, my colleague in Peru, Indiana, and frequent contributor to Farm Journal, has a terrific no-nonsense approach to prenups and farmers.