No matter how much they hate it, every divorcing couple needs to have a conversation about spousal support. It's a difficult conversation for the couple to have, and, as a mediator, a difficult conversation to conduct. Sometimes, I wish I could bring a stereo system to the office and let Kanye West talk to my clients for me. He relates to the payor spouse, the person making payments, and the payee, the spouse who is being paid, in ways that don't come easily to most.
There's no hope of my ever being able to actually play Kanye for a client, but "Gold Digger" dominated the Top 10 Charts, and sent a strong message about divorce to millions of listeners. Possibly, the most notable lines of the song read, "If you ain't no punk, holla we want pre-nup. We want pre-nup! Yeah."
Many people seem to believe that young couples don't have much money, and therefore don't need to worry about pre-nuptial agreements. And yet, regardless of this statement, Kanye succeeds in promoting the pre-nuptial mentality among younger generations.
That's probably because even though many young couples don't have millions of dollars, or much money at all, doesn't mean their money isn't valuable to them. A man or woman who makes $40,000 a year may end up depending on the little money they have more heavily than the person who makes $100,000 a year.
It was easy for Kanye to make a case for pre-nups. No matter how little you have, you don't want to see your ex living better off than you. If for some reason you end up out of a marriage and without the love and future you had hoped for, it's a huge relief to know that at least you have your money. And it's an even bigger relief to know that your ex does not.
As much as Kanye is able to advocate for self-protection though pre-nuptials, there are still many people--celebrities included--who choose not to write up pre-marital agreements. Why, then, do people of our generation act like a magnet to a refrigerator and attract to pre-nuptial agreements?
Perhaps it's because it is so hard to ignore Kanye West. Or because "Gold Digger" has been played on the radio so regularly since its release in 2005. It was even featured on the ever-popular Glee! Maybe it offers a sense of stability in a bad economy. Or, maybe, it's just because horror stories about couples without pre-nups are thrown in our faces so regularly.
Whatever the reason is, however the message got through to us, more and more people are making a visit to their attorney a part of their preparations before their trip down the aisle. But what, exactly, does a pre-nuptial agreement have to do with divorce?
Pre-nuptial agreements certainly do not cause divorces. If a couple agrees to get a pre-nuptial agreement before they get married, it shouldn't be a cause of contention after they wed. What pre-nups can do, however, is discourage couples from working out marital problems. They give an easy way out of a troubled relationship, and even provide motivation to get divorced. When a couple comes to a point where they need to decide to stay together or part ways, having a pre-nuptial agreement becomes a make it or break it factor.
Look at Larry King, for example. He and his wife, Shawn Southwick, were headed towards a divorce, but decided instead to see a therapist and try to reconcile. Many believe that the only reason King and wife #7 didn't call it quits was because he didn't have a pre-nuptial agreement.
I can't confirm the actual reason Larry and his wife decided to work things out. However, losing millions of dollars to his ex may have been a compelling factor in his case.
As Kanye and the media continue to push Americans to get pre-nuptial agreements through their music and their news stories, I ask you to consider this: how much money is a premarital agreement worth? If at some point in your relationship having a pre-nup is going to be the make it or break it factor, in which direction would you want to push forward?
Having a pre-nuptial agreement makes a great case for taking the easy way out of a marriage. Kanye may have tried to encourage people to look out for themselves in "Gold Digger," but his message has backfired on some listeners. It turns out that he's also been telling them to call things off without trying to work things out.