Post # 1
So this was an interesting issue that my FH and I got in a fight about a while back. His dad is absolutely, unshakeably commited to *never* getting married without signing a prenup first. Basically my FH’s mom cheated on him then screwed him out of a lot of money in the divorce (getting custody of the 4 kids helps with that), so he’s very bitter. He’s getting married this Friday, and I guarantee you he insisted on signing one, and he’s trying to insist that we do as well (and I would guess my FH’s twin sister is getting the same pressure for her August wedding (it’s a busy year in this family!)).
So my FH said we ought to just go ahead and do it. I think his dad had really been on him, so he was saying basically that if I backed out on the marriage, he didn’t think I should get half of "his" money and "his" stuff. I totally blew up on him. First off, it’s not "his" it’s "ours," which is why we’re getting joint accounts instead of staying seperate. No, I don’t make as much money as he does (actually he makes at least 3-4 times as much), but I can guarantee I’ll wind up doing far more around the house. And we plan to have me stop working when we have kids. Anyone seen those articles floating around about how much a stay-at-home-mom is actually worth? If you work out the cost of a nanny, housekeeper, cook, chauffer, and everything else they do, they ought to be getting paid in the 6 digits easily. So he can hardly argue that I’m not doing my share.
After some discussion (well, me yelling, then discussion once I calmed down), he agreed with me and admitted he doesn’t really care about signing it, his dad had just managed to talk him into it. So we’re not, but there’s at least a chance his dad will withhold the $6,000 that he promised us over it. I say fine, let him keep his money, I’m not being manipulated into something I don’t believe in, but my FH really wants the money to pay for the honeymoon. (My parents are paying for the wedding, btw.) Not that we need it, but we do have student loan debt and it’d be nice to have that jump-start on it.
So you can see how I feel about it, but what do you think? Will you sign one? Would you in our situation, if money were on the line?
Post # 3
I actually have a pretty clear line I draw in the sand about this one:
If family money is involved (ie your intended or you have a substantial trust fund, money that neither of you actually earned) then I completely agree with a prenup. However, I do believe that it should have certain caveats i.e. becomes null & void after a certain number of years married or once children are born.
I would not sign one if my FH wanted one solely to protect money that he had made, because I too believe that once you’re married everything is "ours."
Liz – I certainly think you and your FH made the right decision. Feeling pressure from your family is no reason to sign a prenup. Tell your FFIL to keep the money! And btw, I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that even if your FFIL had a prenup with your FMIL she would still be entitled to his assets after having 4 children. I’m sure some lawyer bees can weigh in on that one though.
Post # 4
We’re going to have one due to my assets as well as what I will inherit from various family members (only child.) We’re keeping separate accounts along with a joint account. I just think it’s a smart thing to do, especially since I have money and he, well, does not. I get the "ours" thing, but I do think in certain situations it’s completely appropriate. You just never know what might happen in the future. I don’t think it’s a predictor of divorce or anything like that. What’s the saying? Failing to plan is planning to fail or something like that? When we first started talking about our future and marriage, I made it pretty clear that a prenup would probably be a requirement. He said he would happily do it if it was something that meant a lot to me.
Post # 5
I think they’re smart…but I’m in law school and will probably end up as a contract lawyer, so I like all that kind of stuff I see them as "marriage insurance," much the same way as a will is "death insurance" — they are simply legal documents that set out your objective wishes when things are good, so nobody has to deal with the stress of figuring those things out if things get bad. My FI and I will have one (although it may end up being a postnup, which are often seen as less coercive), but mainly to govern our desired division of assets and child issues (assuming we have children) if we were ever to divorce.
That said, it’s a very personal issue, as well as a legally binding contract…so it has to be right for the couple who is signing it. Everything in the document can and should be negotiated to fit the needs of the individual couple, both now and long-term. And my non-legal advice to anyone thinking about a prenup is to make sure that you and your fiance are represented by separate lawyers — any lawyer who agrees to represent both parties needs some serious brushing up on his or her ethical responsibilities.
Post # 6
As unromantic as pre-nups are, I will be signing one when I get married. My FI is about 10 years older than me, so he’s had a bit more time to acquire assets (mostly property). At first I had a hard time thinking about signing a pre-nup, but then I thought that if the roles were reversed I’d probably want him to sign up. I agree that it’s just marriage insurance. Our marriage is 100% legit. I know this. So I don’t mind signing one.
Post # 7
Hmm, hadn’t thought about inheritances. Luckily (or unluckily really ^_^) that’s not something that will matter much for us. Unless one of our parents wins the lottery, I don’t see us getting a great deal of anything from anyone.
It’s interesting to see so many people are signing them. Until I met his family, I had never met anyone who had done so. Maybe because most people in my life don’t actually have that many assets to protect? ^_^ I’m interested to see what else will be said!
Post # 8
We’ve discussed this at length and are not doing one… I think it depends on the couple and the circumstances, although one of my best friends (who is a lawyer) can very eloquently argue that it is in both parties best interest all the time.
Post # 9
We are going to. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it’s old family money that has been trusted to me. A stipulation of the trust requires my future husband to sign it. Can’t do too much arguing there.
I think it should be a personal choice based on the couple’s situation. For us, both of our families are fortunate to be well off, so everything just seems on a level playing ground for us. I guess I mean to say is neither of us has more at risk should heaven forbid things go wrong. It wouldn’t be worth the effort for us go through all the legal paperwork of a pre-nup without my trust’s stipulation requiring it. I don’t like the "mine" and "yours" connotation that goes with a prenup. Especially since I already think of everything as "ours" and I will stay at home in a few years with our children and he will be the one providing.
Post # 10
My set up sounds very much like Habibi’s. We agreed that anything we inherited would remain soley in our own posession in the event of death or divorce, unless the money is invested in mutual property (like a house.) Mutual property would get split evenly, or become the sle posession of the survivor. Every we earn during our marriage is ours, and would get split evenly as well.
If your FFIL is insisting on a prenup, could you sign one that says you will split everything 50/50? It may just be a repeat of what the law already says, but you WOULD have the requested pre-nup….
Post # 11
Hmmm, if one of my parents was offerring me $6,000 to sign a prenup, I would do it! I didn’t sign one but there wasn’t really anything riding on the line (no inheritances, no money), and if anything I would be the one to benefit in a hypothetical divorce, as he is the richer of us two. I would have been open to one if he had wanted.
You said, it wasn’t really relevant "unless one of our parents wins the lottery…" but I think that comment right there describes the attitude of many people who sign prenups. They don’t think the circumstances wherein it would be needed will every come to pass, but crazy things have been known to happen. People do win the lottery. Seemingly faithful spouses have been known to cheat.
I think the attitude really matters. If you do it as an insurance policy, or even just because his dad wants you to, then you don’t have to worry that you’re doing it because you somehow don’t trust one another. You DO trust each other. You don’t have life insurance because you’re really worried you’re going to die tomorrow, but just in case the horrifically unexpected happens. That prenup will probably be useless in the end. And if it is, then great! You’re happily married and $6,000 richer too!
p.s. Piaffette makes a good point–you can make the prenup say whatever you want it to. If a 50/50 split is what you would want, then you can specify that and everyone is happy.
Post # 12
I am also a law student, and I am a HUGE fan of prenups. This is probably because in family law class, we only read the worst of the worst cases, where endless litigation and pain could have been avoided with a prenup. Plus, taking the time to seriously discuss finances with a future spouse is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of– you’d be surprised what opinions come out when things have to be put into writing. Team prenup, all the way!
Post # 13
After a little consideration, I would probably sign it too for $6k. If you’re confident that your marriage will last, then it shouldn’t matter.
My fi and I got in a heated discussion over the same topic about a year ago. I don’t come from money and he doesn’t either but he has worked very hard to save a huge chunk of change, while I have not saved anything (big mistake!). We will be using the money he has saved when we buy a house. If for some reason the unthinkable happens and we split up, the money that he put into the house will go to him and any money down the line (like half of the mortgage payment each month) that I put into the house will go to me. We haven’t consulted a lawyer yet so I’m not really sure how that comes out in the contract language or percentages or whatever. He wants me to sign a pre-nup so he cannot be raked over the coals, as he has seen happen to a few of his friends. So, while a year ago I was offended that he didn’t believe in or trust our relationship, now I understand his argument for wanting a pre-nup. If the roles were reversed and I had been the saver, I would feel the same way. It’s basically for self-protection (or insurance like previous posters said) because in all reality, you never know what could happen.
Good luck with your FFIL and your decision!
Post # 14
Oh, just clarification- I was not angry that he brought up the idea of a pre-nup or anything like that. I was angry that he immediately considered the money "his" because it made me feel like he didn’t value the things I will contribute to the marriage.
Post # 15
My fiance has a lot of assets invested in property and stocks. I bring very little financially into the situation. I had brought up the possibility of writing up a pre-nup to protect his assets from before the wedding including his family farm, which his mother lives in and he owns with his sister. He was against the idea of a pre-nup since he says it will never be needed. I agree that for legal issues these things should be protected. If our marriage ever did need to be dissolved, then I would hope that I would never try to take those things away from him and his family.
Post # 16
Generally speaking we haven’t considered it in terms of our own finances. We really want our finances to be completely intertwined. This has been interesting b/c we both have different spending habits. But what’s most important to me (and him) is that we both have excellent credit and completely agree about not being willing to assume debt for anything but a house (we were lucky in that neither of us has educational debt which I’d also be okay with). But we have a fairly bad and potentially v. costly situation involving my FFIL and some bad investments he has made which my FI would stand to inherit. We are looking into how to protect ourselves from that, and that may involve some kind of agreement that at least protects me (and would give us the option of later shielding our kids). We’re hoping that’s not the case though.