Should Palauan Lovebirds Consummate PreNups First?

By Jackson M. Henry —-

In the mid 1980s, when fiery debates were raging in Palau over the Compact of Free Association (COFA), a group of rubacks convened at the old OEK chamber to discuss strategies for the nationwide COFA referendum. During the meeting, an eloquent ruback stood up and asked COFA Attorney Martin Wolf a question. He went:, “Mr. Wolf, if COFA is a marriage between Palau and the US, then who is the male and who is the female?”

Martin Wolf slowly looked at the ceiling and said, “Ruback, when a male meets a female, they go on dates and eventually fall in love, they get married and then go on a honeymoon. At the end of the honeymoon, it does not matter who is the male and who is the female because they both got screwed”. The room burst into a deafening laughter followed by laud round of applause.

Humor aside, Martin Wolf highlights an important point that, marriage can be a source of screw ups, if the parties do not take counsel from those who have been “dragged over the coral” because of tumultuous nerve wreaking break ups.

In the words of Mario Fuentez, “Marriage is a high stakes gamble” because no one can predict what will happen in the future. When couples are overwhelmed by the emotional bliss of marriage, they cannot think straight nor can they muster the mojo to ask hard questions. Hard questions can lead up to questions like, “you do not trust me?”. As the saying goes, “love is blind and lovebirds are blinded by love”.

The good news is that there are legal instruments available to Palauan lovebirds to ease the pain during break ups and to remove fierce conflicts during the allocation of assets. It is called a Prenuptial Agreement (PA). This is a new concept to Palauans because we have historically resorted to our customs to settle marriage break ups. However, times are changing and Palauan lovebirds may need to adopt to changing times.

PA offer lovebirds predictability, security and legal a framework on how love should end.

This is critical because, spouses can acquire sudden and unexpected wealth during marriage. Good examples include a lucrative business contract, large commission earned from brokering a multi-million dollar deal, song that became a super hit, a college athlete drafted into the NBA or even a million dollar lottery winning.

“Money is emotional”, says Molly McClusky, and divorce can drive a spouse to the edge if he or she finds the poorer spouse running off with bulk of the wealth. Therefore, lovebirds should discuss PA first and the best time before marriage is consummated.

Marriage is a contract between lovebirds so it also should include a separate contract on how it ends and who gets what, when and where.

Beyond the money and assets, PAs are not for couples who have nothing and who will get nothing.  So live on love because money is not everything. Wai sei!

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One Comment to “Should Palauan Lovebirds Consummate PreNups First?”

  1. Is this the same Martin Wolf that paraded his naked Filipina maids through the streets of Ngchesar? It’s great that we’re getting marriage and financial advice from this guy and his delusional admirers!

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