Fiance wants me to sign a prenup and I am having doubts

posted 8 months ago in Relationships
Post # 211
320 posts
Helper bee

thatlass :  (Pre/post-script: After I wrote this post, I realized how cold it sounds. I’m an analytical person by nature and I don’t do empathy well, so please forgive me for coming off as more devil’s advocate and less gospel-choir-testifyin’).

I think you’re doing the best thing you can by postponing the wedding and taking the time to think and talk this through before you make any permanent decisions. You seem like a very smart, strong woman and I applaud you for advocating for yourself. You’re practicing a lot of emotional discipline here and that bodes well for your career.

The terms you’ve more recently negotiated are a lot closer to being fair and I really hope he’s sincere about them. I’m assuming the first conversation you had really did come from just the most cursory, perfunctory meeting with his attorney (who I’m guessing is also his dad’s attorney) because he would be foolish to pay him to draft an entire document without even discussing the terms with you first. I say that in case it helps restore your faith in him a little bit–maybe give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he went into this naively.

Your proposal about each putting half of your income into a joint account seems fair and logical. I can understand why he would hesitate, however, at the suggestion that assets purchased through that account (most of which, presumably, would be consumables but might also include furniture, appliances, recreational vehicles, etc.?) should be totally joint property. I wouldn’t feel great myself buying in at 75% and later dividing things up 50/50. I know that it doesn’t feel loving or generous to you, but it’s technically fair–for the years you are both working.

Bear in mind that I am coming at this from a very different set of experiences which has altered my perspective on marriage and finances. I was the breadwinner in my first marriage and I was royally effed in my divorce. My current husband went through the same hell with an even more horrific outcome in his first marriage. I’m not going to hijack your thread with our tales of woe, but please understand that while some people lose an annoying, inconvenient amount of money in their divorces, others lose an amount of money that is borderline ruinous. Money that they earned without any help from their spouse. The state typically doesn’t concern itself with dissecting the details of your partnership and deciding what’s fair given your unique circumstances. They award money based on who, on paper, can presumably afford to pay regardless of why one person’s income is higher than the other spouse’s and who gave up what. I’m not insinuating that you’re out to take advantage of him–or even that he thinks that–but everyone has heard these kinds of horror stories and perhaps even knows someone who has lived through one. It’s scary as hell. And they say you get to know your spouse when you’re divorcing them, so everyone has that little sliver of doubt in the back of their mind that makes them wonder if their 1-in-a-million fear will come true for them when you run off and leave them for someone new. 

My husband and I had experiences that changed our mentality toward money in such a way that we actually feel more comfortable with an arrangment similar to the one you and your Fiance are working out. We each put 25% of each paycheck in a joint account for household stuff and keep the rest for discretionary purchases and savings. His retirement is his retirement no matter what and so is mine. I make my car payment, buy my clothes, pay for the occasional lunch out with the girls, etc. with my separate account and he does the same kind of thing with his. Even though we share with each other by treating each other to little surprises and gifts from our individual accounts, we still retain control over most of our money, which is a security thing for us. Although we trust each other, having been a worker/saver living with a profligate spender damages your peace of mind in such a way that you never completely trust someone to have full access to your entire bank account without watching it constantly. We also know that in the very unlikely event of a divorce, neither of us is getting the rug pulled out from under us; we both get to keep the IRAs and savings accounts we have busted our asses to build. I’m not saying any of this because I think he’s been divorced or because I think you’re a profligate spender. And I’m not saying we’ve figured out the definitive way to handle money in a marriage. I’m only saying that it is possible to be in a very loving, trusting, respectful relationship and keep your money separate. Please don’t think that a 100% shared bank account is the only way of demonstrating love. I absolutely adore this man and trust him more than I’ve ever trusted anyone and he treats me like he feels the same way about me. But I have to sleep at night and that means knowing that I’m not going to get cleaned out just before retirement and have to work until I drop dead.

At the end of the day, though, it has to feel right for you. It doesn’t matter at all what is empirically fair if it runs counter to your philosophy or your instinct of what marriage should be. If either of you sign off on something you don’t truly agree with on a visceral level, it will poison your marriage. Resentment and insecurity will build over the years and you’ll feel like you’ve sold yourself short. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, especially not someone who seems as deserving as you. So, be intellectually open to a marriage that looks different than what you have always been told is the “right” kind of marriage, but ultimately follow your heart and don’t agree to something that hurts.


Post # 212
2897 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

weddingmaven :  this. He even wants the upper hand/$  *during* the marriage!

OP, I am fine with prenups, but if I actually had to negotiate with my fiance just to try to get a fair/equitable deal, that’s distasteful/hurtful and breakup worthy.  There is no love involved when trying to screw the mother of your future children out of every dime…

Whatever his excuses are, your fiance is more like his father than you want to acknowledge, despite your education as a psychologist.  I strongly suspect you’ve been rather passive in your relationship, and are more like his mother than you realize.  I do hope it works out for you. 

Post # 213
3868 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

sunburn :   franklymydearidont :  I agree completely.  My Mom had a traumatic, abusive childhood and NEVER treated us like she was treated.  OP, I would be even more wary if he is excusing his bad behavior by blaming his childhood.  I agree with PP that you can expect to be treated the same way his mother was – he’s giving you a preview. 

Post # 214
2238 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

One of the recurring themes I see in these conversations is that her FH has a tendency to suggest something that is FUNDAMENTALLY unfair or punitive and will ONLY concede it was not an equitable solution if she protests. 

Why is he trying to manuver her into a financial corner? Agreeing to ANY of his proposals would put her at a tremendous disadvantage financially. That isn’t a caring and supportive pattern of behavior. My FH makes substantially more than I do. HE was the one that suggested a 65/35 split for shared expenses, and in reality covers more than that in practice, just to be sure I have some money to spend discretionally. He volunteered to take this on because he wants to see me succeed and flourish, not because it’s exactly fair. 

Let’s not forget that even should he agree to cover all the “family” expenses, his track record implies that if they happen to disagree about an expenditure, he could very easily pull the “Well, it IS my money…” card.

I think his dishonesty trying to pin the blame on the lawyer points to the fact he KNOWS what he’s trying to get away with isn’t right. He just figured he’d send up the flag and see how OP took it. All that adds up to a degree of selfishness I would not want to deal with in a life partner. 


Post # 215
769 posts
Busy bee

I apologize if this has been sad but I only read through the first several page of comments. Is this even a legal pre-nup? I was under the impression that prenups protect pre-marital assets so I don’t know it this will even hold up in court. A judge may just throw it out. I’m all for pre-nups, I came into this thread thinking I’d be on your fiance’s side, 100%. But I’d be furious if my fiance tried to give me 15k a year for every year I missed out on work, promotions, opportunities, etc. Fuck that. First of all, a nanny would cost more in my area, I know people paying their nannies 100k a year. I read this to my husband and he’s equally disgusted. 

Post # 216
169 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2020

Good luck with everything bee! You seem to have it figured out, I hope it works out thatlass :  

Post # 217
1258 posts
Bumble bee

Uhh most money in the shared account would get spent on shared expenses and there won’t even be that much left in the event of a divorce, it’s really just a mechanism to pay for things without sitting down with a calculator each time to work out the %, and he needed to consult with a lawyer about THAT?

Also I’m not sure about the US, but in Australia a prenup (called a financial binding agreement) can be thrown out by the court at divorce if the couple has children and the prenup doesn’t sufficiently cover children, or if it is deemed to be unfair. The court doesn’t have to uphold the agreement.

For example if you stayed home for some years to care for children while he get to work full time and advance his career, that needed to be accounted for in the eye of the court, not just you get $15k per year, that doesn’t even cover your “wages” for the “work” you do at home. An au pair would earn more than that I would think. That’s an insulting amount of money for your sacrifices. 

Then, if you get majority of the custody of children, the other parent needs to pay you for their care regardless of what the agreement says.

Assets should be split fairly, at least where you’ve contributed either monetarily or through your time, you should at least get that share back. You can’t be divorced and destitute with children to care for and no real career prospects because you’ve sacrificed years off your working life.



Post # 218
36 posts

Hope all is going well.. 

Post # 219
6498 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

You pay for all your own medical costs? Does that include pregnancy and delivery – with a baby that HE helped create? Absurd.

While I read the “horror” story above, I still maintain that a partner who stays at home with children in some sense allows the other spouse to earn what they do. In all the years our children were young, my Dh did not have to miss work for a doctor’s appointment or leave early to get a sick child. He could travel whenever he needed to without worry about childcare. He never had to worry about having a meal on the table when he came home. The house and the children were my job, and me doing my job allowed him to do his. $15K a year for that? No. 

And while a PP might disagree, I DID earn half his retirement and half the assets. If you (or he) only value financial earnings, then do not have children and do not stay at home, even for one year. 

OP, you are being VERY strong. Kudos for not caving to terms that aren’t even approaching fair. I wouldn’t believe these were his lawyer’s terms, either. So what happened to him dropping the idea of a pre-nup altogether? As I said before, I don’t think he will, and I don’t think he will drop his shark-like terms. Please update us when possible.

Post # 220
84 posts
Worker bee

I would not sign it! He makes 3xs more, and you paying for half is extremely unfair. If you decide to stay home with kids you guys will have, you will have to rely on his mercy for money since everything is separate. That’s insane to me. He isn’t a millionaire, no reason to even bring up a prenup. He has a house, but you also will be paying towards it and have 100k you would put on it. Listen to your feelings, this isn’t right. Maybe getting married to this man is wrong. He is too focused on his future wealth he might have then to think about important things like building a life with you. He sounds selfish and very immature.

Post # 221
320 posts
Helper bee

How are you doing? Has his perspective changed since you last talked or are you still at an impasse? thatlass :  

Post # 223
226 posts
Helper bee

Wish you the best, thatlass!  Thanks for the update – I’m sure a lot of us have been wondering.  Good luck to you!!

Post # 224
12208 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I don’t think this is fair and would never sign it. Retirement savings is the majority of savings most couples have. It’s not as if he has major assets going into marriage. 

And only if you produce children for him will the prenup expire? So that means if you can’t for some reason have kids, he can still walk away, at 50, 60 or 70 years old with the large majority of everything? Or if you divorce in 5, 6, or 7 years with or without kids you walk away with almost nothing? Nice. 

Please tell me how that’s fair or decent. Is this really the kind of person you want to be with? This isn’t the last time you’ll deal with this side of him. 

Also, at his salary and income potential his issue is not having enough to retire. His issue is he wants it all and you should have rights to none of it. Potentially, even if you are together for decades. 

And what happened to his promise of dropping the idea of a prenup altogether? I thought so. He only said that when he thought you were about to walk.

Post # 225
6836 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

thatlass :  Hang on, you’re still keeping retirement separate…are you still expected to give up your career to be a Stay-At-Home Mom once you have kids? Meaning: that whole time you won’t be able to save ANYTHING towards your retirement and he’ll still be plugging away saving 20% of his salary for only himself? What if you have kids and then divorce after 9 years? You’ve lost all that earning potential staying home and have no retirement savings. 

I do wish you the best but it sounds like you and your Fiance view marriage and partnership MUCH differently, and it’s not something I think I’d be able to reconcile. I hope you can work things out in couples counseling because, as it is now, I wouldn’t trust him at all. He doesn’t sound like a partner. He’s still looking at this whole thing as you vs. him. 

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