Post # 1
Okay, so my fiance and I are both students, graduating this year with tons of debt (him about twice as much as me), and then we’re going into similar careers with good earning potential (me possibly more than him).
So tonight, I’m on the phone with my dad, who totally loves my fiance and thinks he’s a great guy for me. But he’s also a lawyer, and one of his partners got divorced and is now paying her ex-husband alimony. So he tells me I should call her to talk about pre-nups, and that I should strongly consider getting one. Not that he thinks I’ll need it, but just in case something happens, he doesn’t want me spending all my salary paying off FI’s debt, and then paying him alimony.
Look, my view on pre-nups is that they can help prevent a horrible situation from being even worse, and that they can’t hurt an already good and trusting relationship. The truth is that I know we won’t need it – we’re not going to get divorced, and if heaven forbid we did, neither of us would try and dick the other over. I feel 100% confident about this (because we are both good people and we care enough about our marriage to work through our problems). But I don’t really mind signing a pre-nup, and if it will make my family more comfortable, especially if they’re loaning us money for a down payment on a home, then I’d be fine with it.
The question is, how do I bring this up with my fiance? I have to tell him about the talk with my dad, but I don’t want FI to feel attacked by him. I don’t think either of us have a problem signing one or not signing one, but it’s an awkward conversation we need to have. I just don’t even know how to start. HELP!
Post # 3
Be honest with your fiance, and tell him that you are going to have a talk with a lawyer just to see what he/she says. It very well might turn out that a prenup is unnecessary if neither of you have assets going into the marriage. My FH and I are both lawyers, and have nothing against prenups. Right now, neither of us have assets. I’d be annoyed if he wanted a prenup because I would view hiring lawyers to negotiate as an unnecessary expense, given our financial situation.
FWIW, I would leave your dad out of it. This needs to be between you and your FH, and you don’t want to cause any resentment. Just say that you were thinking about it.
Post # 4
Someone asked about this last week. I straight up told DH before we were married. I said I think we could get a pre-nup and he said OK. I think it’s easier for men to agree too. They don’t have as many emotions regarding these things.
Post # 5
Am I wrong, but aren’t pre-nups mainly suppose to protect the assets that you have PRIOR to the marriage? Whatever you make, assets obtains DURING the marriage is still 50/50 without a post-nup if in case of divorce?
Honestly, if i knew I was going to make more money than my FH, I would make him sign a pre-nup and a post-nup just to ensure I am well protected in case of a divorce.
Plus, who knows what will happen? You say that even if you guys did divorce, neither party will do such a cruel thing, but if you get a divorce, doesn’t that mean something went terribly wrong? What if one party was so angry and bitter that they would chase you for alimony just for revenge?
ALIMONY is for life! Or until the other person who’s getting alimony remarries.
I would HATE to give my heart to someone, end up in divorce, take all my money, and then have him live happily with another hoe, all while I’m writing a check out to him every month for the rest of my life.
Post # 6
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I don’t know the marital property laws in NY (hell, I don’t even know them that well in CA, and this isn’t legal advice and I’m not your lawyer, etc. etc.) but I *think* that student loan debt, especially if acquired before the marriage, is your own, and you can’t stick it to your spouse after a divorce; it goes with you. What you *can* do is sign a premarital agreement wherein if you pay off his loans (acquired before the marraige) and not yours (also acquired before the marriage) during the marriage, for example, he owes you some money back. But that is not the default, and if you don’t have a prenup, that (probably) won’t happen; his pre-marriage debt stays his, and yours stays yours.
As I understand it (and I might be wrong), alimony (spousal support) has to do with maintaining the standard of living after the marriage ends, so that tends to happen when one spouse make significantly more than the other, but it’s not usually indefinite; the supported spouse has an obligation to become self-supporting eventually.
And lastly, I think nextvie is wrong that premarital agreements mostly protect pre-marriage assets. Usually what you come into the marriage with remains your own, unless you agree to have it be otherwise. It’s what you earn during the marriage that you are likely to be protecting by writing a premarital agreement. I don’t actually know if NY is a community property or separate property state, so that would be something you’d want to know and think about in order to decide if it makes sense for you. If one of you is likely to earn a whole lot more than the other, it might be a good idea to protect the lower earning partner. They can also help determine what the division of property will be in divorce if one party already earns a lot more than the other and you don’t want any surprises. It might also be helpful if one of you is going to go into a lot more debt during the marriage and the other doesn’t want to be stuck with it. I am still pretty sure that this doesn’t apply to student loans, but it probably applies to other kinds of debt in most cases.
Talking to a lawyer isn’t a bad idea. Reading a little it at the library is probably a good place to start to figure out if this is something you want to spend money on for a consultation… these can be expensive. Good luck!
Post # 7
Almony is NOT for life, or at least it isn’t intended to be. The judge will factor in how long you were married, where you are in life, and how long it would take the other to get back on his or her feet. (At least not in CA.)
BUT, if you’re thinking about this, you should really consult a lawyer in NY to figure out the intricacies of it. (For example, I don’t think you’d be stuck paying off your FI’s debt if you divorced, because all of it was incurred prior to the marriage.) Like the PP said, (at least in CA) once you’re married, all wealth you acquire would be divided 50/50.
Call a lawyer. Before you talk to your FI, you’ll want to be well educated before you bring it up.
Post # 8
Mine is for the assets that I have prior to the marriage. It also discusses amounts of money that would be paid upon divorce. However, once you have children, pre-nups go out the window. Alimony isn’t for life either. There are tons of factors involved. The only time it would be paid for life is if the spouse never was employed during the marriage.
Post # 9
Well luckily, since my father is a lawyer, I kind of get free legal consultations whenever I want. And with FI’s grandfather being a lawyer, we could probably utilize favors and have both “sides” represented when drawing up a document, so I’m not worried about the consultation cost. I’m just concerned about bringing it up to FI, since we talk about money and stuff all the time but with the assumptions that “we’re in this together.” I feel like it’ll be weird to have to talk about it in an “out for ourselves” kind of way.
Post # 10
I’m a third year law student in FL, and I just took Dissolution of Marriage, so I know that in FL, any student loan debt acquired before marriage is yours or his, so in the event of a divorce, you wouldn’t be liable for his debt and he wouldn’t be liable for your debt. But if either of you plan on going back to school while you’re married, then that debt could be a marital liability. Divorce law is diffferent in every state, so I would still check with a lawyer to see what the law is in your state, but if that’s your only concern then it may be unnecessary. Also, a prenup and a postnup are the same thing, but one is signed before marriage and one is signed after (they protect the same assets though).
I would bring it up delicately. Just say that while you have absolutely no doubts about your marriage, you think a prenup might be a wise thing just to hash out a few concerns of yours. Explain that prenups protect both parties so it’s not as though you’re trying to prevent him from getting any assets/alimony, just that you want to discuss things now when you’re happy and can’t imagine ever hurting each other.
Post # 11
I don’t know about NY, but I am an attorney and different states do have different laws. In community property states, ex. California, your pre-marital debt remains yours and only yours. but in equitable distribution states, the Court can theoretically divide assets and debt, no matter when or how acquired, based on the circumstance and how good your lawyer is.
My fiance and I will be having a pre-nump because we will be married in one of those equitable distribution states (Massachusetts), even though we are in it for life. It just clarifies our debt and assets from before the marriage and declares we are individually responsible for it.
A prenump can also dictate division of property/assets acquired in the marriage, so long as it is fair and reasonable.
Post # 12
I’m confused why the loan from your parents would make a pre-nup necessary. I assume you’d draft up papers so this is a formal loan and not simply mom & dad handing over a wad of cash saying “pay us back if you can sometime” that might get muddled with a gift. How does a loan by both of you for housing make a pre-nup more necessary? I’m not against pre-nups as long as they’re thoroughly discussed in advance and both parties are protected.
But in planning out your potential pre-nup, try to think through all of the possibilities. Is it possible that one of you might stay home if you had kids? Would the prenup still be fair to both of you then, if one of you took a substantial time off from career to do that? Does the pre-nup consider the possibility of inheritance for both of you? What if one of you swapped job paths? Do you plan to pay off your student debt unequally? (e.g. pay off higher interest first, which could be all of your debt, before going to pay off his debt)
I would suggest you find some time when you can have a long private conversation. (Ha! Not like we had our conversation, which randomly came up on a drive that got cut off when we got to our destination.) Be aware it’s a sensitive topic and that he may not have thought of it. I was suprised my bf said he’d like want one, because I hadn’t thought he considered our difference in assets to be different enough to require a prenup. It took a little time to put that feeling aside, but as I told him, I have zero problem with one that is fair – that would acknowledge if I took time off to care for a family, that would recognize that a 5 year marriage is different than a 30 year one, that if he was protecting the small early inheritance he already received than it would equally protect any inheritance I might receive (which is likely to be much larger).
And don’t bring up your parents. If you are asking him to sign a prenup, it should be because you want it, not because your parents want it.