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Will you need a prenup?

A couple got engaged over the holidays and the topic of a prenup came up recently. People seem to have varying opinions on what prenups “represent” and how it reflects on the relationship. I would not have problems signing one – after having a lawyer look it over, of course; and I don’t believe it means that you are expecting the marriage not to last.

A lot of single women are earning more money than the men they marry so I think prenups have become less taboo to women. If you have a problem bringing up the topic of prenups, you probably shouldn’t be getting married.

It’s probably not a romantic or “fairy tale” part of being engaged but at the very least, the question can be addressed to find out where your partner stands. How do you know if you need a prenup? Would you have a problem signing one? How do you broach the subject?

At what point do you talk about your income with someone you are dating? Or should you bring it up at all prior to getting engaged?

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Blog

166 comments Add your comment

YesSheIsCute

January 19th, 2011
8:22 am

YesSheIsCute

January 19th, 2011
8:24 am

Getting a prenup doesn’t mean you expect your marriage to fail, anymore than getting renters insurance means you expect to be robbed. It’s just insurance in the unlikely event that something bad happens. Divorce is probably more likely than getting robbed, depending on your neighborhood.

Celisea

January 19th, 2011
8:40 am

Morning,

We got folks blogging with that kind of loot (that you need a prenup)? I kid I kid. I have a conference call so I’ll try to come back with thoughts before heading on the road…business venture.

Y'all Are Kids

January 19th, 2011
9:02 am

If you have anything worth keeping, what’s the big deal? If I had any sentimental items, such as my grandmother’s jewelry collection, or what have you, you can bet your a$$ I’ll be keeping it. Doesn’t matter that it was mine before the marriage, Georgia law splits everything of value, 50/50.

Leggs

January 19th, 2011
9:03 am

Good morning, everyone!

:lol: :lol: My assets doesn’t dictate the need for a prenup. Now, when I win MegaMillions that may be another story. Wait, I’m not married, don’t foresee me getting married, so no need for a prenup…carry on! :lol:

RxDawg

January 19th, 2011
9:03 am

I’m having this problem right now. Recently engaged, and I would like to have a prenup. Don’t know how my signficant other will take it. I’m thinking she will be offended.

Leggs

January 19th, 2011
9:20 am

@Rx ~ she might be, and then again she may not be. If this is something you want, then you need to discuss it with her. State your reasons for wanting one, and you might be surprised. She may be more open to it than you think. As my E.O.D yesterday stated, “worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed.” Stop playing her “reaction” over and over in your head. Talk with her.

BlueThrash

January 19th, 2011
9:29 am

I just had my boyfriend sign one. I am divorced. Have a child. I also own my own home (really own it,…no mortgage) and earn a “very comfortable” living along with having a “healthy” retirement savings and college fund for my son. My boyfriend has an ex and two minor children and makes about 1/6 of my income and has no assets other than some retirement savings. I dodged a bullet when I got divorced because my ex was so enamored by his mistress that he didn’t take very much from me when we split….if he has not been blinded by the mistress he might have been smart enough to take a lot….of course, no mistress would have meant no divorce to begin with LOL. Anyway, I didn’t do the prenup because I plan on getting divorced, but rather because you never know…and also because I have a child to protect and feel that what I earn is really his if I die while he is a minor. Also, I would never want my BF’s ex to have any means to go after my wealth….I have no issue buying things for his kids, but I don’t want his ex to be able to have any way to come after what I have in the event it could be considered marital property. Peace.

DW

January 19th, 2011
9:35 am

@YALL ARE KIDS> My understanding is that assets obtained BEFORE marriage are not subject to splitting 50/50

AmazonRed™

January 19th, 2011
9:44 am

Morning all –

I’m okay with a pre nup. I fully intend to marry for love.

In saying such, if I am asked to sign one…I will ask to add a clause that infidelity means all bets are off and I will bleed you dry. :)

BlueThrash

January 19th, 2011
9:44 am

That may be true, DW, but there can be arguments otherwise. Also, I am looking to protect any growth in my pre-existing assets – for example, if my home appreciates after marriage that appreciation could be viewed as a marital asset even if the underlying home/value is not and same thing with retirement savings. My prenup includes post-marriage earnings as well, so that those are not subject to a split either. After my son is grown, perhaps we will rip up the prenup….you never know.

Karen

January 19th, 2011
9:45 am

Yes to prenup ! Even tho law states assets obtained before marriage are not subject to 50/50 split in divorce you have to prove it. Also any interest or gain in the assets is subject to the split. In the event of blended families with children from either side do not take the chance. Am going thru a very nasty divorce and husband has managed to hide monies, falsify documents etc. Alot of my hard earned money will go to his kids when it should not. My son has some money from my parents and from me – when he gets marries to have a prenup. It just makes sense. And if his future wife has money from her job or family she protects that. Hate to be bitter but marriages do go sour sometimes and you need to protect your assets.

DW

January 19th, 2011
9:50 am

@Bluethrash and @Karen : thanks for the tips guys! I think that if my portfolio rises 1000% during my marriage, im okay with my wife getting half the gains. CONVERSELY… wouldnt my wife also be liable for HALF my debt? What if spend like a drunken sailor? If i had a prenup i would be SOLELY liable for that correct??

DW

January 19th, 2011
9:54 am

My point is prenup is a double-edge sword. If my wife gets a large inheritance or wins the lottery then i dont get any of it either. just saying

RxDawg

January 19th, 2011
10:02 am

“My point is prenup is a double-edge sword. If my wife gets a large inheritance or wins the lottery then i dont get any of it either. just saying”

I don’t think that’s true. A prenup protects all of your assets up until the day of your marrige. Everything you and your spouse make together from that day forth isn’t included. Maybe a lawyer is around to correct/support me.

Delight23...((pondering))

January 19th, 2011
10:11 am

morning peoples! :-)

Pre: prior to; before
Nuptial: pertaining to marriage

No issues signing nor presenting. Question. If you’ve reached the point of asking for their hand in marriage, why has the conversation about pre-nuptial agreement(s) not taken place?

DreamsMaterialize

January 19th, 2011
10:12 am

If I get married, I will have a pre-nup. No one expects their marriage to fail, but 50% of them do. And things have a way of getting sour in a divorce. People will do some things that you never expected of them, especially if kids are involved.

DW

January 19th, 2011
10:16 am

RXDAWG: Definately need to check the facts. Bluethrash and karen disputed what you said already..

Karen

January 19th, 2011
10:16 am

Actually any inheritence obtained during marriage is not supposed to be part of the split in the event of divorce. Problem arises when you take those funds and perhaps invest in something with your spouse (like i did ). It becomes very messy and complicated. As a general rule though any monies you inherit are not subject to settlement BUT any gains or investments are. I got this info from any attorney ….

kimmie

January 19th, 2011
10:20 am

Morning All!

What a humdrum topic, but I guess it’s necessary. Gotta handle ya business!

People will do some things that you never expected of them, especially if kids are involved.

Dreams – You are so right about this! I have not been thru it, but I have had friends that have! Turned into a totally different person, or maybe it was there all along and just never surfaced!

Me & the fiance’ have never discussed a prenup, which I guess folks might find strange because he’s a lawyer so you might think he would bring it up. We have discussed finances. We both po, but he does have 2 kids he has to look out for so I would totally understand coming to an agreement about the kids’ future assets.

BlackMagicWoman

January 19th, 2011
10:24 am

RX DAWG…if she is offended…that is a red flag. Anybody in this day and age should understand to need and the right to protect what’s theirs. Yes, when you marry it becomes “ours”. But if it doesn’t work…you should NOT be locked to that if those things were “Yours” before the nuptials. If I have a house that was left to me by my grandparents that I am living in prior to marriage, and we rent the house out or whatever. Then the funds that come in on that house while we are married are ours because we are one. But if one becomes two…you should NOT be reaping benefits off of the house that was mine before you. Its like NY State law for Cops….if you are married 10 years..then no matter what, when you retire that ex spouse can get half your pension. Now imagine if you worked 20 years and got your pension. But now you are divorced and your ex has remarried…guess what…that new woman or man is enjoying YOUR hard earned money! I tell you…makes me NEVER want to marry. I understand how folks snap and “get rid” of somebody for this.

“I would never want my BF’s ex to have any means to go after my wealth….I have no issue buying things for his kids, but I don’t want his ex to be able to have any way to come after what I have in the event it could be considered marital property.”
BLUE THRASH….you are one smart lady! Kudos to you for protecting yours!

DW

January 19th, 2011
10:25 am

Thanks for the tips Karen! I understand that over the course of 10, 20 , or 30 yrs those gains can be significant! If things were the other way around and ur husband got the inheritance and hence the gains, would u feel differently?

Karen

January 19th, 2011
10:26 am

A word from a now wiser lady….have a frank and honest discussion about finances prior to getting married and if there are kids from prior marriages discuss future provisions. Of course just having the discussions does not mean people will not change and screw you over. It is sad to lose trust in your partner but things happen, and it is better to be prepared than in the dark. Good luck to you.

Karen

January 19th, 2011
10:29 am

DW, my husband did in fact inherit some money from his dad and he promptly gave half of it to his grown girls to help them buy a house, and I had no problem whatsoever with that. Problem is he sees things as “what is mine is mine and what is yours is mine”…. greed is a terrible thing.

DW

January 19th, 2011
10:33 am

Sorry to hear that Karen. That is just plain messed up!

BlueThrash

January 19th, 2011
10:33 am

“Everything you and your spouse make together from that day forth isn’t included.”

My pre-nup does include earnings post-nuptial unless the parties expressly agree or take action otherwise. For example, if I buy another home and have the deed in both of our names it will be joint property – if, however, I buy another home and title it only in my own name the pre-nup states that it is all mine. Pre-nup just means that you sign it before you get married…you can also have a post-nuptial agreement that does the same thing. What is in your pre-nup is up to you and your betrothed – you can include or exclude anything you want.

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
10:39 am

Marriage is a wonderful thing (or can be, anyway), but it most certainly is not all romance & fairy tales. The harsh reality is that sharing one’s life with another requires a lot of work, patience and communication. There most assuredly will be issues to overcome, and money often is one of the biggest. If not a pre-nup, a very in-depth and frank discussion of how the finances will be managed post-nup is a must. And as others have said, if the topic is too taboo for you to broach, then you’re probably not mature enough for marriage just yet.

abc

January 19th, 2011
10:42 am

Prenups are bogus. You go into marriage fully, in all aspects. Else, your union is suboptimal by design.

If the marriage should fail, part of the penalty is material and financial. If you feel that your potential spouse would only stand to benefit from dissolution of the marriage, and you don’t trust them on that account, then don’t marry them.

Ghostrider

January 19th, 2011
10:46 am

Prenup….What a crock of Sh1t. If I was asked to sign a prenup I’d walk, to me that is an insult. I’ve been Married 25 years this April, it never even crossed my mind to ask her to sign a Prenup. Unless all of you have millions in assets, which I kinda doubt, dont insult your future spouse.

Leggs

January 19th, 2011
10:47 am

“part of the penalty is material and financial…”

Yes indeed.

Celisea

January 19th, 2011
10:49 am

Sorry but I agree with ABC. I just don’t see or get saying you don’t expect the marriage to fail but you taking measures for when it does. I agree maybe if it’s layed out ahead of time to be “more binding” maybe there’s more of a reason to fight to save, fight to stay, fight to make it. Just can’t see nor get making provisions , before it fails for when it fails.

DreamsMaterialize

January 19th, 2011
10:52 am

If the marriage should fail, part of the penalty is material and financial.
abc No question about this. However, I don’t think the point of a prenup is to be exempt from penalty, but rather to ensure that the penalty is fairly applied. Otherwise, the penalty is applied based on who has the best legal representation, which is subjective at best.

Celisea

January 19th, 2011
10:54 am

“layed out to be more binding”…not in a literal sense but thought in such a way of okay, this is it….me for you your for me for life. Prebups IMO is like a “just in case” out. Maybe we should feel “stuck” so much so that we got no choice but to make the dang thing work.

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
11:16 am

Is this thing on?

BlueThrash

January 19th, 2011
11:24 am

“Prenups are bogus. You go into marriage fully, in all aspects. Else, your union is suboptimal by design. If the marriage should fail, part of the penalty is material and financial.”

Penalty? Why should I face a penalty if my spouse decides he doesn’t want to be married anymore? I was shocked by the seemingly out-of-the-blue dissolution of my last marriage. My ex went from holding hands and huggy kissy “I love you” to “I am done” seemingly overnight. All these years later my child is still confused about what happened because it was not preceded by anything other than the picture-perfect loving couple and family…then “poof” he was gone. I love my BF, but you never know. We are both grown ups. I have assets and make a good living. When we marry he gets to share in all of that, but if he chooses to leave then he leaves with what he came in with and what he personally amasses during the marriage. I hope we never divorce as I do not want to go through that pain again – nor see my child experience it once more. I hope someday we can shred the pre-nup…but until then I see nothing wrong with being in love while also being “smart” about the business side of the relationship.

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
11:30 am

BlueThrash — Agreed. It takes 2 to make a marriage work, but only 1 to make it fail.

DreamsMaterialize

January 19th, 2011
11:39 am

so did we lose everyone, or is the blog experiencing technical difficulties?

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
11:40 am

Dreams — I think everyone is consulting their attorneys… :lol:

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
11:42 am

Maybe we need a lighter topic…

Here, I’ll start:

Shaved, trimmed, or au natural. Talk amongst yourselves:lol:

PrincessNik

January 19th, 2011
11:45 am

Dreams/Swiss

I think most middle class people don’t relate to the topic. :) As for me because of my daughter my bigger priority would be keeping an up to date will.

abc

January 19th, 2011
11:49 am

‘Business side of the relationship’ is a very strong indication that you may not be ready for marriage. Personal finances are not business. To not share benefit of financial resources with your spouse indicates a lack of genuine concern for them. If you can’t trust them, don’t marry them. You either don’t trust them because they’re untrustworthy, or you don’t trust them because you can’t trust people.

That’s not a criticism or indictment of any kind. It’s a common human condition.

Divorce should come with material and financial penalties as motivation to exert more effort and caring in preserving the marriage, if for no other reason.

DreamsMaterialize

January 19th, 2011
11:57 am

Dreams — I think everyone is consulting their attorneys…
swiss Hahaha that’s funny. people don’t like when you start talking about losing something you worked hard for. I vote “yea” for the topic change. Shaved or trimmed is cool, although I can do without the designs. I don’t want to see the Hitler mustache or the goatee on the puddy. lol

think most middle class people don’t relate to the topic.
Princess Are you kidding me?!? That big screen and the 1/20th acre of land in MS that got divided up among the 40 grandchildren is all I got, and you can’t have it! lol

DreamsMaterialize

January 19th, 2011
12:00 pm

Divorce should come with material and financial penalties as motivation to exert more effort and caring in preserving the marriage
A prenup can serve as the same motivation.

BlueThrash

January 19th, 2011
12:02 pm

“Personal finances are not business” – I respectfully disagree, especially when we are talking about folks getting married later in life (perhaps for the second or third time) who have already created a financial life for themselves and may even have minor children from a previous relationship to consider.

“To not share benefit of financial resources with your spouse indicates a lack of genuine concern for them.” I fully intend to share my financial resources with my spouse. If, however, he chooses to no longer be my spouse then I will no longer share my financial resources with him. We are not yet married and I already share my wealth with him in many ways. I would point out that he has a pension that will kick in later in life – if we are not married at that time then I do not feel I should have any benefit from that pension.

“Divorce should come with material and financial penalties as motivation to exert more effort and caring in preserving the marriage” I was willing to do anything (anything – even forgiving adultery and emotional abuse) to preserve my former marriage. My ex would have no part of it….so he got almost no part of the wealth that I (not he) had accumulated during the marriage. I did not have a pre-nup in my last marriage and I was lucky that he did not run away with half of my estate – money that I believe rightfully belongs to me and my child as we are not the ones who chose to dissolve the family. The thought that someone who throws away a perfectly good family should financially benefit from that decision is as awkward to me as thinking that the person who was willing to do anything to keep it together should be financially penalized. My ex didn’t want to do the family “thing” anymore so he was free to go and pursue his own interests…on his own, with little financial help from me (should have been none).

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
12:04 pm

“Divorce should come with material and financial penalties as motivation to exert more effort and caring in preserving the marriage, if for no other reason.”

abc — I understand, and agree in principle, with this sentiment, but in cases where the financial standing of the respective spouses are drastically different, what is a “penalty” to one party may actually be a boon to the other. Was Juanita Jordan penalized financially from divorcing Michael, or Guy Ritchie when divorcing Madonna?

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
12:07 pm

Of course, in the two examples I gave the “penalized” parties were both sleeping around, so perhaps not the best examples… :lol:

Leggs

January 19th, 2011
12:07 pm

@Blue Trash ~ I can understand where you’re coming from. To have the dissolution of a marriage split 50/50 when one of the parties doesn’t deserve a damn thing leaves me seeing red. I too am thankful my ex didn’t go after my 401(k), which he could have. The one thing I’m still a little salty about is him asking me to sell the house or buy him out only so he can get some $$ and not be concerned about the roof over his child’s head. He didn’t put one dime into this house (other than paying the utilities). I realize that in itself helped run the home, but it made me no nevermind because I wasn’t buying him out!

abc

January 19th, 2011
12:08 pm

I don’t see how a prenup could server the same purpose; if anything, it would discourage a spouse from being motivated by greed to leave, but that’s not the same as serving as motivation to stay.

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
12:08 pm

Allegedly, I should say….

i'm swiss™

January 19th, 2011
12:13 pm

Being motivated to not leave vs. being motivated to stay

How is that not the same thing, again?