(Closed) Anyone else excited about their prenup?

posted 8 years ago in Money
  • poll: Prenup?

    We have (or will have) one, and I'm glad we do!

    We have one, but I wish we didn't.

    We don't have one, but I'd like to.

    We don't have one, and I wouldn't want one.

  • Post # 47
    Member
    21 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: July 2013

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    @Rachel631:  This is what happens Wink http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/divorce_from_hell_began_with_6.5k_monthly_alimony_offer_ended_with_1.5k_awa/

     

     It’s an extreme example – and I note the irony of the part of the story where the court ruled against a prenup… but this is how bad divorce can get here.

     

    ETA: This is the full article in case you want to read all of the gory details… It’s pretty interesting http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-divorce-from-hell-the-battle-for-alimony-and-emptied-pockets/2112875

     

     

     

    Post # 48
    Member
    115 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    We are planning to do one but I just keep putting it off/forgetting. How much should I anticipate spending and how much time is involved? Can you make a similar contract after the wedding? With less than three weeks to go, I’m afraid we’ll run out of time! 

    Post # 49
    Member
    66 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: January 2013

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    @soontobesaieed:  We are in the process of doing ours and its about $1500 each, although I’m sure that varies greatly by region – we are in NJ.

    Post # 50
    Member
    7976 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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    @Sunnydale:  They both sound like a pair of mentals, to be honest. I think bad divorces will happen regardless, though…

    I’ve been looking for a series of articles I remember from years and years ago, but I can’t find them… basically, this was a media fight that started when a nasty right wing newspaper said that UK divorce law favoured women. It gave an example of a couple who had only been married for a very short time… let’s say, two years… but she won half his fortune in the settlement. “Gold digger!” screamed the newspaper.

    … then another newspaper investigated the case. It transpired that “John” had been self employed, but poverty stricken, when he married “Jane”. However, the security of Jane’s wage had allowed him to take his chances at self-employment. Without her income, he would never have chanced it.

    Soon after the marriage, John’s business started doing very well, and after a while then Jane gave up her waged work and came to work for John, doing unpaid work for his business. The business comtinued to expand rapidly. Then, John and Jane split up. The court ruled that, even though it was John’s business, and he had owned it prior to the marriage, Jane was still entitled to half the assets from the business. Seems reasonable to me.

    … anyway, I digress. Emotionally, I must say that I don’t like the idea of prenups. I would not marry if I thought I would divorce… equally, I would not marry if I thought Fiance was the type of person to try and screw me over if we did divorce. But we are rational, not emotional people, yes? So let’s think it through rationally.

    On the evidence of the (admittedly unscientific) data in the poll on this thread, over 80% of bees do not have prenups. If 50% of them divorce, that’s a lot of divorces without prenups. Therefore, there must be a series of rules, laws, and guidelines which set out the idea of fairness in the case of US divorces when prenups are absent. So now the question is: how do prenups affect this fairness?

    Now, if the law is truly fair, and sets out equitable guidelines for splitting the marital assets, then the only thing a prenup could do is to make the split of marital assets less fair, surely? It would make the split less fair because it would be based on a past situation which may no longer apply. Surely a rational and reasonable court would take your present situation into account, apply guidelines fairly, and split your assets reasonably, regardless of whether there was a prenup or not?

    In fact, from this perspective then prenups only make sense if you have a reason not to trust the law. So here’s another question… on what grounds would you not trust the law to make a reasonable decision?

    Post # 51
    Member
    526 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

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    @Rachel631:  

    I want to respond, but I first need to state to anyone who reads this: I am an attorney, but this is NOT legal advice.  I do not specialize in family law and am most likely not licensed in your specific state.  For information on your specific situation, you should consult a local attorney.

     

    Division of assets in a divorce is governed by state law.  As such, the laws vary from state to state.  All of the laws are intended to provide a “fair” result, but they can be drastically different.  Also, no matter what your state laws are, there is a lot that may be left to a court’s interpretation.  EVERY state has a history of and continues to have case law regarding property division in divorce.  Saying “We don’t need a prenup because we live in X state that follows Y law” is naïve.  Look it up- even with Y law, your state of X has legal disputes about property division.  You may know what your state’s laws are, but you don’t know how they’ll be applied to you.

     

    There are two main steps to dividing property: deciding what property is subject to division and deciding how that property will be divided.

     

    Deciding what property is subject to division: this is the step where you get terms like “marital assets” and “separate property” and “community property states.”  Different states have different rules that determine what is unquestionably yours (and cannot be taken from you in a divorce) and what is shared (and may be put in the pot to be divided in step 2).  With a prenup, you can specify how assets and debts you have now will be classified, as well as assets or debts you may acquire after marriage.

     

    How the property will be divided: this is the step most people think about when they think of divorce.  Most states divide property “equitably” or “equally.”  “Equitably” means the decision maker looks at the situation as a whole (earning capacity, length of marriage, etc.) and decides who should get what.  “Equally” generally means 50/50 (which makes step 1 especially important).

     

    Again, these laws are all designed to be fair, but it’s very subjective.  If there were one fair way to divide property then all of the states would follow that method, right? 

    Post # 52
    Member
    21 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: July 2013

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    @Rachel631:  Well, I think your first mistake is assuming everything is rational and reasonable under the law… It doesn’t always work that way. A lawsuit is essentially a series of calculated risks. I’m sure you’ve known someone who has divorced? In some cases wonderfully normal people can turn from rational to emotional – even vengeful – very quickly. Especially when children are involved. People can lose that rational perspective. 

     

    First off, it’s impossible to answer your question for a couple of reasons.

     

    1. The laws of divorce vary greatly between states. There are fault and no fault states (I think there are still fault states) – this makes a difference in how a divorce is granted (i.e. in some states you have to prove that someone was “at fault” i.e. adulterly, abuse, or something and in some states you don’t). Also there are community property (everything earned during the marriage is split 50/50) and non community property (you keep what you earn) states. Some states allow for alimony in the statutes, some do not. Basically, because it is regulated by the states and not the Fed gov’t, a huge part of your question would depend simply on where the couple lived in the US. Then the default rules of that state would apply – some states seem more equal than others – depends on your definition of equal. So a pre-nup may also protect you in case you move to a different state with different divorce laws than where you were married (assuming the new state recognizes your prenup)

     

    2. “Fairness” cannot be determined by one individual. Should everything really be 50/50? what if one person simply contributed more to the marriage? And how would that even be determined? what if the couple never agreed one party would stay home, one party just stayed home because they couldn’t find another job? Should they still get 50/50?

     

    3. So much of this depends on how much time and money the couples want to spend fighting this out. In the linked example above the woman was fighting for her “fair share” but she ended up spending all of their money. Sometimes couples can be rational, sometimes when someone cheats or thinks someone cheated (or any number of other things) a switch can be flipped and one party is out for revenge. 

     

    4. There are different types of divorces. Couples can do mediation, collaborative divorces, self represent, or go to court with attys for the trial. It depends how the couple wants to resolve it – actually it depends on how one party wants to resolve it. If one side isn’t into a collaborative divorce or mediation, it’s not going to work well. Generally, if you’re in extended litigation the party with more $$ is going to have an advantage. Like the linked example above where the man could no longer afford and atty and had to represent himself. I imagine it would be difficult for a non-lawyer to litigate a divorce against a lawyer who knew all the laws/rules.

     

    5. You can’t simply trust the law because there are too many unknowns. The law may work in your favor today, but  you don’t know if the legislature will change it, you don’t know who your judge will be, you don’t know if the judge will be having a good day when your trial comes up, you don’t know that your sig. other isn’t going to change in the future (yes not a romantic idea, but sometimes addictions, mental illness, or anything else cannot be predicted)… I think the pre-nup tries to take the uncertainty out of it.

     

    6. Sometimes pre-nups are set aside by the courts or the couples. I really wouldn’t know the details as to why, but it happens, and it’s an option.

     

    7. Most importantly I think the point many people miss is that a pre-nup does not just plan for a divorce. A pre-nup can do amazing things to level the playing field during marriage. For example: if one partner has lots of unsecured debt (let’s say in student loans) then when married that debt could prevent the couple from getting a mortgage loan. However, if you assign that debt to the spouse that incurred it, then the partner may be able to get a mortgage loan in their name alone and not have that unsecured debt taken into consideration – therefore helping the couple/marriage by allowing them to get a home they couldn’t have without a prenup. There could be different tax reasons to get a prenup. Maybe if one partner owns a business the prenup can protect the other partner in case that business goes bankrupt, thereby always keeping one member of the pair afloat. Again it’s different in all states, but those are some other ways a pre nup could probably be used that don’t relate to divorce, but rather contribute to the quality of the marriage.  

     

    Sorry for the TL;DR. I’m by no means a divorce lawyer, but I think it’s probably very difficult to understand the US laws when you’re outside the country because there are 50 different rules about divorce in this country. Sounds like the laws are purposely made to be fair and equitable and apply to everyone where you are. But here it kind of depends on which state you live in and what you think is fair at the time of your divorce. It’s all a matter of perspective.

     

     

     

    Post # 54
    Member
    7976 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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    @Sunnydale:  I find your point 7 the most compelling, actually. Again, it doesn’t apply in the UK because we have set rules about debt within marriage, bankrupcy etc, and you can’t “opt out” of them. Out of curiosity, how do the rules of your state compare to the UK rules?

    Post # 55
    Member
    526 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

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    @PinkBubbles:  Anytime! 🙂  Maybe I should change my specialty… 

    Post # 56
    Member
    7367 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    This whole plannong for divorce is simply nonsense. Do people drive without car/liablility insurance cause they are planning for an accident? Dont people not have home, life, long term care, diasablitity insurance? People can only hope they or their partners  will be fair in the unfortunate event of a divorce. But when has life been fair?

     

    Post # 57
    Member
    885 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2009

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    @kay01:  Same here.  I cannot imagine being excited about a prenup.  As you said, they are just a tool. 

    Post # 58
    Member
    1022 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @PinkBubbles:  we don’t, but we will.

    Post # 59
    Member
    854 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    We are getting one but its not something I would consider “exciting”.

    Post # 60
    Member
    605 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2014 - Brazil Room

    No prenup for us. Both my Fiance and I have been divorced once before and our divorces were amicable. We even both made it out without even having to go to court. I just resolved my “out of court” financial agreement with my ex and he has paid me off what little he owed to me. My Fiance paid off his ex last year and was truly respectful about it.

    There’s no true way to predict how someone will act during divorce, but we both have a decent idea of each others character and believe we don’t need a prenup in order to separate fairly (if it ever came to that, which I don’t ever want to happen!)

    Post # 61
    Member
    4697 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    We’ll be having a prenup. I think it’s important.. My Fiance is partial to long hair so this is a great way to legally ensure I can never change it….. Just kidding!

    But here’s a link to an article about some ridiculous clauses in pre-nups. MY favorite is this one: “wife cannot look at another man or talk to anyone she went to high school or college with.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/new_york_craziest_prenups_jDpqgftwBtlp9kvEKoFWtJ?utm_source=SFnewyorkpost&utm_medium=SFnewyorkpost

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