Behavioral Sciences and the Law Volume: 9 Issue: 4 Dated: (Autumn 1991) Pages: 375-386
The reasons for prenuptial agreements and their psychological, familial, and legal ramifications are explored; guidelines are also offered to reduce the anxiety they arouse in some individuals as well as to indicate when the contents of the prenuptial suggest problems in the future.
Prenuptial agreements received little attention until the 1980's, when they became the focus of much analysis in the media, attorneys' offices, and courtrooms. The rising rates of divorce, concerns about divorce settlements, and increasing numbers of marriages at older ages than previously have all contributed to the interest in prenuptial contracts. Prenuptial psychosocial accords and legal agreements are intensely personal documents. Such agreements should be based on good faith and full disclosure so that the marriage is predicated on a basis of trust, integrity, love, and respect. Therapists and mediators dealing with prenuptials should be knowledgeable regarding the laws governing such documents, their revisions, and their legal ramifications. Important skills in professionals involved in these negotiations include empathic listening and responding, sensitivity to conscious and unconscious intents, awareness of both positive and negative loyalties regarding members of the families of origin, and the use of a problemsolving model for arriving at decisions. 14 references
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