- 1 year ago
- Wedding: October 2017
Could you clarify something, OP? You and Fiance have had a few conversations about this, so I think that bees are responding to different iterations of your prenup.
The way I understand it, he wants for each of you to take your own personal retirement and/or savings accounts with you in the event of a divorce, plus you will get an additional $15K for each year you stay home and can’t save for retirement. On top of that, he will pay all of your living expenses for you and the kids during the time you’re not working. Other bees are responding as if you’re supposed to live on a $15K annual allowance while you’re home and that if you divorce, you get absolutely nothing. As in, he keeps his retirement fund/savings account and yours from all the years you were working and you go out into the world without a penny to your name. If it’s the latter, that’s truly horrible (but that’s not the picture I’m seeing based on how you’ve described the terms). If it’s the former and he’s willing to support you 100% while you work AND give you additional money to make up for lost raises and retirement savings during the years you took care of the kids, I don’t think he’s being an asshole or a sociopath. If you think the $15K number is too low, why not try negotiating a higher number than that by showing him that you would be putting more than that into savings if you were working? That way, you would know for sure whether or not he was willing to come to the table and negotiate logically and fairly rather than from a place of fear. As you are deciding whether or not to go through with this marriage, I think you need to know whether he’s trying to be fair and is missing the mark or if he’s truly exploiting you. Intent and attitude are incredibly important here.
“Initially he proposed we have completely separate finances – we each pay for half of the household costs and the rest is our own to keep… He paused for a bit, then offered to have a joint account for family expenses. All expenses related to the family, such as grocery, children’s educational cost, family vacation, would be covered by that joint account. He would contribute two thirds to the family expenses, and I will only contribute one third to that. Everything else is separate.”
“…my clothes, my car payments, medical cost would be on my own…”
“He then said he would give me some money every year I stay home (he mentioned 15k a year)…”
Her fiance did not say that he would be putting 15k per year in her retirement if she were to stay at home.
He said that she needs to pay for expenses for herself on her own including medical and retirement and mentioned “giving” her 15k per year if she stays at home–I (and many other bees) assume this is supposed to cover all of her expenses and her retirement.
Everyone realizes a cheap nanny would earn more than $15,000 a year to be home with the kids just 40 hours/week, right? And that it doesn’t begin to compensate her for lost earning potential, promotions, etc.
So the man she’s planning to spend the rest of her life with doesn’t think her time is even worth minimum wage? To raise his children? And some people seem okay with that?
And this is why we need clarification. We’re having to assume to fill in the gaps. I think she mentioned at one point (I’m not going to search through 14 pages) that he said he would cover everything while she’s not working, which makes me think the $15K per year was to be an extra payment made in the event of divorce. For example, if they split up in 20 years and she stayed home for 3 of those years, she would get to keep her retirement fund from the 17 years she worked + a $45K bonus from him. Without knowing their lifestyle or cost of living (and therefore, what she could reasonably expect to bank from her salary each year if she were working) it’s hard to know if $15k is the “right” number, but it sounds reasonably fair. If the 15k is a living allowance and she gets no compensation in the form of retirement or savings for lost years of work, then it’s exploitative.
Ok. I see I created some confusion here. Here is the breakdown of what happened.
1. On Monday, fiancé proposed that we keep finances separate (retirement, savings etc), and we each pay into the household expenses. Initially, he wanted to split everything half and half. After I objected, he agreed it was not fair and he would pay 2/3 and I would pay 1/3. Again, anything related to me, such as my clothes, trips, medical cost will be my own expenses. If I stay home, he covers all expenses for those years, and for every year I stay home, I get 15k in cash in case of a divorce.
2. I objected again and pointed out how that would be unfair for me. Say I stay home for 3 years, I get $45k. Realistically speaking most of that money is going to go into legal fees for the divorce then I would have no retirement & social security contribution for those years. Also, I asked if we keep everything separate, everything time we buy anything as small as picking up a soda in the gas station, we would have to take out our phone and calculate how much we own the other person, do you really want to do that? He said no, then told me a friend does that and he thought their marriage is awful. I straight out asked him, if you think so, why do you want to an awful marriage then? He then said he didn’t want that arrangement either. I think he didn’t even think through what he wanted, and his proposals were driven by his self-protection mentality. The solution I offered was that since both of us get paid twice a month, one pay check per month would go into a joint account and the other check would go into individual accounts. The joint account would cover ANYTHING related to the family, such as grocery, mortgage payments, car payments, and medical cost. Conversely, any assets paid by that account will be shared in a divorce. He said he was open to that idea, but he needed to talk with his lawyer about it.
At that point, I was so upset that I couldn’t look at him anymore. I went upstairs and he started playing his guitar. That was Monday.
Then, on Wednesday, I told him I saw no love in his conditions and I could not marry him. He freaked out and said we would only have one joint account, and everything will be marital assets. We left it at that.
He is out-of-town for a conference till Wednesday. I have been using this time to catch up with work and reflect on my relationship. Where I am now is that I don’t even think the prenup is the biggest problem anymore. The biggest problem I see now is if he truly loves me and if he is ready for marriage. I am 99% positive his lawyer did not come up with those terms, he did. He probably freaked out that I was going to leave him, and he chose to pin the blame on that lawyer. I am going to have another talk with him on Wednesday when he comes back. Have been looking at airbnb and hotels if we break up on Wednesday.
Also, for those of you who asked, the wedding is postponed. I canceled all the upcoming appointments related to the wedding and told guests on my side to hold off buying flight tickets indefinitely.
I am glad it sounds like he backtracked and said he actually didn’t need all those things he put in the prenup but I think your instincts are correct that HE choose those things not a lawyer. I really doubt a lawyer would have gone that hardcore about giving him everything and you nothing. I am pretty sure there is a standard middle ground with pre nups and a laywer would most likely give that unless expressly asked to skew it one way more than the other.
So now you have to decide if you think he lied to you on top of it all and if it really was his lawyer’s fault or his fault. Either way, he agreed to those terms and thought they were fair. THAT essentially shows you how he feels no matter who made up those rules him or the lawyer.
I think your gut will tell you everything you need to know. If he is the type of person to want a contract like the first draft he suggested, that ME mentality he has, has got to have shown up already somewhere else in your experience with him. So think back to your relationship and see if you can spot a pattern of behavior. I think that will show you your answer. Keep us updated bee.
You’ve been engaged since last fall but he waited until close to the wedding to present the (extremely one sided) prenup?! Have to assume that timing was also strategic….
“Initially he proposed we have completely separate finances – we each pay for half of the household costs and the rest is our own to keep. I have to sign away any rights to his retirement, his investments, or savings. I expressed objection as that would put me in financial risk – during the years I stay home I won’t have an income and won’t contribute to retirement, he is geographically restricted so I will have to look for jobs near his work (I already have made career decisions because of geographic restriction). He then said he would give me some money every year I stay home (he mentioned 15k a year) and that is all I get in terms of a divorce.”
From that, what I am getting is that he expects that everything will be paid for separately. For the entire length of their marriage, whether it is 5 or 30 years, in the event of a divorce she gets nothing of his retirement, investments, or savings. When she objected to it, pointing out that her entire livelihood is impacted by giving HIM preference, he said that every year she stays home WHEN THEY DIVORCE he will give her 15k. Not now. Only when they divorce.
“I told him straight out I would not sign this. He paused for a bit, then offered to have a joint account for family expenses. All expenses related to the family, such as grocery, children’s educational cost, family vacation, would be covered by that joint account. He would contribute two thirds to the family expenses, and I will only contribute one third to that. Everything else is separate. For example, my clothes, my car payments, medical cost would be on my own. In case of divorce, you keep what you owned and the other person’s retirement, investment, assets etc would not be divided. The only thing that he agrees will be divided is his house, IF I use my wedding gift to pay for half of it.”
When she came back and said that she can’t marry him under those terms, he freaked out and way backpedaled. He blamed his lawyer and took no responsibility, didn’t even answer her when she pointed out that if he brought up those terms to her he must have agreed with them. He said that those weren’t the ‘real terms’. “He then said we would just have one joint account, we would pool our money, and that will be marital assets. He also said the house will be both ours, we would split the equity, any assets purchased during the marriage would be marital assets, and my wedding gift will be mine to use in any way I like. His retirement will be shared and my name would go on his life insurance.”
I’m going to go way out on a limb and say that the FH’s father is sort of a tyrant at home and the mother is pretty conflict-avoidant. I am thinking that the FH grew up in a household where what the father says goes, and I think he wants that same sort of dynamic in his home. The OP seems to defer to him a lot over big issues, and I think he was completely expecting that she would defer to him again in this case. When she didn’t, he threw a tantrum. Then when she showed some backbone, he backpedaled.
I don’t see this as a good thing. It reminds me of someone leaving a toxic workplace and being given a counteroffer. When you say you are leaving they panic because they will have to replace you and train someone else and that takes money and time. In the moment they just want you to stay, but if you take them up on it the rest of the issues are still there, AND they no longer want to invest in you because you aren’t loyal. I forsee that he will continue to try to have the same lifestyle as his parents, and will continue to want you under his thumb.
So in the event that you want to go through with this marriage, it is extremely important that you go through some sort of pre-marital counseling, and I would refuse to marry him without it as the ball is now in your court. It seems that there is a lot to unpack here and you guys need to be on the same page.
Whoops, OP already updated us!
So happy you are reflecting on things. Even if his lawyer DID come up with those terms without his input (highly doubtful, but let’s just pretend) why would he have not shot it down right then in there, in the lawyer’s office, before that information even came to you? Point blank, he knew the terms were unfair, but he wanted to get away with as much as possible. So when you called him out on the unfairness, he did an immediate about face, and pretended things were “obviously” not going to be like that. If they were not “real terms”, why even put it in writing? Bring it to you attention? And come on, people are the LEAST likely to cooperate when going through a divorce, he would have to think you are stupid to sign to those agreements yet tell you verbally that “it won’t really be like that if we divorce”.
Ugh. Glad you have a good head on your shoulders and are open to the possibility he was trying to screw you over.
Also, just thought – if he’s a doctor, depending on what kind, he probably is putting in a LOT of hours. Even after you went back to work after kids, would you be taking on the burden of childcare and household duties? Or will he be willing to split that 50/50 too? If he’s so big into protecting his own paycheck and himself, would he be willing to do that to the tune of 50/50 around the house to make sure you were not entitled to more than you made during those years?
Your offer to him that you both contribute half of your incomes to family or joint expenses is still grossly unfair to you. Half of your income is a lot more significant to you at your lower salary than it is to him. Your personal account, including discretionary spending will be a fraction of his. To me, that doesn’t even begin to “show the love.” Likewise, your personal savings will be a mere fraction of what he can put away for himself. As I said before, to me that is not a partnership or a marriage.
I would not marry the guy, period, but if you insist despite all evidence of character to the contrary, you need to tell him that as per his offer there will now be no prenup.