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 Post subject: Taboo subject: The Pre-Nup
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:41 am 
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With a number of GRS'ers getting married in the near future (and of course this subject is open to those who aren't), I wonder if any of them have considered a pre-nuptual agreement?

The subject (not other GRS'ers wedding plans, no offense) came into my head earlier in the week when a couple on a popular weekly television show was discussing a pre-nup. It got me thinking, since I am divorced and am not opposed to getting remarried. In the case of my own divorce, a pre-nup might have given me a 70/30 split (speculating) in my favor instead of the 50/50 division of assets. I'm not complaining mind you, as I have made my peace with my past. But every experience is a learning opportunity, a chance to ask yourself, what would I do differently next time?

My current girlfriend and I have discussed the topic a little bit. We talk very openly about just about everything (correcting one of the mistakes I made in my marriage) and it's clear to me that it's an uncomfortable subject, for both of us. Without divulging too much about her (that's her business), she has more debts than assets while my case is the opposite (except for my mortgage). Since she and I are not at the point in our relationship where it's reasonable to consider marriage plans, it's hard for me to know whether or not I would even consider a pre-nup, let alone have one drafted.

There are arguments for and against, so I was just wondering what the rest of you think. Obviously very few people go into a marriage thinking about divorce, but it's also a reality that 50% (or more, depending on your source) of couples must face. Can it ever be JUST a financial agreement? Is it hopelessly intertwined with trust and would it doom a marriage to failure? Is it something that only the über-wealthy (aside from Paul McCartney) ever consider, and the "average" person doesn't need one?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:06 pm 
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I don't know much about pre-nups. To my knowledge, nobody I know has every had one. Many of my friends go through pre-marriage counseling at their church. A few have even been divorced. But I've never heard of anyone getting a pre-nup. I've always thought of them as for people whose incomes are wildly disparate...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:34 am 
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I don't know of anyone who's ever had one either. I didn't know if it was maybe a regional thing, more likely in other parts of the country/world than I've experienced.

[For the record, we also did pre-marriage counseling at church and even gave back, continuing to participate at church in the counseling of other young couples. Then there was the church (and secular) counseling when things started to go pear-shaped. And yet...]


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:17 pm 
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we'll have a prenup, which essentially is, whats mine is mine and whats yours is yours kinda thing

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:41 pm 
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We don't have one. It was never a consideration, and neither my wife nor I have any regrets about that. But that's just us. We also don't know anyone that has one (at least no that we're aware of).

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:52 pm 
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We didn't have one, and I'm not aware of anyone I know who has or had one, either.

I concur with JD--I thought prenups were for cases when there was some wild, pre-existing disparity. Someone who already had a lucrative business, and the partner didn't, or who was a rich celeb, or had a vast family fortune. Like a prenuptial agreement was a way to stave off gold-diggers.

Speaking as a woman, and totally hypothetically since I don't foresee ever getting married again (heaven forfend), except in the circumstances described above, I'd consider a prenup a total deal-breaker.

Even if you both have careers, you *know* that if you have kids, the woman's earning power is going
to be the one to suffer.

The factoid that gets tossed around is that after a divorce, the man's standard of living goes up 28% and the woman's goes down 33% (most recently cited in the new-ish book "The Feminine Mistake", which is mostly about the financial risks and realities of choosing to be a stay-at-home mom.) Presumably this means with kids and without a prenup. That's a shitty enough spread and a prenup would probably make it worse.

This also totally sidesteps the issue that a prenup essentially shows lack of good faith that the marriage will last...

Fuhgeddaboudit.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:15 am 
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Actually, one could envision a prenup being structured such that the woman made out better than average following divorce. You could specify whatever sort of split you'd like, I think.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:14 am 
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I suppose that's true.

I guess I was reacting to the idea that "what's yours is yours and what's mine is mine" idea that Jericho put out there. It seems eminently fair, and I suppose that if it applies specifically to what both parties bring into the marriage as it starts, it's pretty reasonable.

But if the couple has kids, and most do, that almost invariably puts the woman in a vulnerable position, financially as well as otherwise. It's way too easy for things to evolve that the money is regarded as his and the kids are regarded as hers. These are common dynamics/tensions even in otherwise happy marriages and it almost always comes into play when marriages split up.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:25 pm 

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I have to disagree with Angie that a prenup essentially shows lack of good faith that a marriage will last. Finances play a huge part in our lives. Prenup is a hard topic to broach. But, it shows how open your relationship is. I am not saying every couple should get one. Just that they should be comfortable enough to talk openly about it. If they decide its not for them great. At least they both spoke about it and made a decision.

Additionally, huge insight is gained about what your partners expectations are. If there is going to be a disagreement about finances I would rather find out about it before getting married. At least that way it can be worked through. I have seen too many bitter divorces to just assume that both parties will be amicable enough to come to an agreement about splitting of assets. That is just absurd. Being broken hearted is bad enough, but having to fight over finances makes it that much worse. Not to mention how much money will go to attorney's fees(I would that money be going to my partner).

With a prenup there is no guess work. Having seen divorces turnout both ways(sometimes the woman makes out really well, sometimes the man does). It all depends on the situation(or the attorneys). People know what they are getting into before they get married. Moreover, getting married is stressful enough as it is. Removing one less unknown would make the situation better for both parties.

Think about it this way. This woman(or man) is supposed to be the person you can talk to about anything. And if you can't talk and form a plan for the worst case scenario(divorce) with the person you are meant to spend the duration of your life with. Well, why are you getting married to them?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:31 pm 

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My father-in-law (remarried, once-divorced) suggested to my husband that he consider a prenup before we were married. My husband brought it up as a topic of discussion, we had a civil conversation about it, and decided that since we were both young and relatively poor, it wasn't really a good fit for us. I certainly think it's worth a discussion if nothing else--as others have pointed out, this is the person you are supposed to be able to talk to about anything, and I think being able to discuss finances reasonably is a cornerstone for a good marriage overall. I'm curious as a bit of an aside if people who do make a prenup keep their finances separate while married? It would seem a natural fit...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:16 pm 

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Angie wrote:
I suppose that's true.

I guess I was reacting to the idea that "what's yours is yours and what's mine is mine" idea that Jericho put out there. It seems eminently fair, and I suppose that if it applies specifically to what both parties bring into the marriage as it starts, it's pretty reasonable.

But if the couple has kids, and most do, that almost invariably puts the woman in a vulnerable position, financially as well as otherwise. It's way too easy for things to evolve that the money is regarded as his and the kids are regarded as hers. These are common dynamics/tensions even in otherwise happy marriages and it almost always comes into play when marriages split up.


I strongly have to disagree there. I pay over $500 alone on child support per month....for one kid. I don't hear my ex-wife complaining about anything, just watching her use the money for personal gain. And the ironic thing is the grandmother takes care of our child, not the mother (drops off our daughter at her grandmother's before work, picks her up after work).

My own mother used the child support that was supposed to go to my sister and I to fund her IRA for many years. So please, don't use the "woe is me" because I don't buy it.

I would rather have custody of my daughter and get $500 a month, than to have to worry about my future job security because child support enforcement doesn't care if you were laid off or are going through hardships. They want the payments like clockwork.

If you start to miss payments, they'll warn you. Then suspend your DL. Miss some more, jail time.

In the state of Florida, you'd only have to miss 2 consecutive payments for them to suspend your license... It sucks cause I work in IT, where most of the field is going overseas to outsourcing. So I constantly have to excel in my career but yet try not to ask for too much because of fear of termination or being replaced by a H-1B visa worker who is willing to work for 1/3 of my salary.

On top of that, child support is based on income. The more I make, the more money they take.

I think my ex-wife sleeps a whole better at night than I do. :lol:

Back on topic:

I totally agree on desertjims' closing paragraph.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:19 pm 
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hucast, I'm sorry you feel so ill-used. At least you should feel proud that you're one of those rare custodial parents who actually pay child support in full. Statistics from as recently as 2003 are available from the Census Bureau--check out Table 1 of
http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-230.pdf

Apparently only about 46% of custodial parent actually receive the full child support payment from the noncustodial parent. (Interestingly, this is true whether the custodial parent is male or female.) Certainly none of the noncustodial parents in my family tree ever came anywhere close to fulfilling that obligation.

Desertjim, we absolutely agree that potential spouses should really understand what they're getting into before marrying, about financial issues as much as any other. But when you write, "Think about it this way. This woman(or man) is supposed to be the person you can talk to about anything. And if you can't talk and form a plan for the worst case scenario(divorce) with the person you are meant to spend the duration of your life with. Well, why are you getting married to them?" I think, this guy is missing a big connection somewhere.

Dude, if you are making a concrete plan to get divorced then you are not fully committed to a lifetime relationship. Save yourself the hassle and don't get married in the first place.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:45 am 

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I will be getting married within the next few months down here in Bolivia, however neither I or my girlfriend have much as far as assets, I have about $1,000 to my name, no car, no house, etc. etc. and she is in basically the same position. Therefore I don´t see much or any need for a pre-nup...any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:11 am 

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Being young and with debt, it had never occurred to me to protect my assets. Until recently.

A very popular classical singer with an incredibly busy schedule of international engagements recently canceled all of them and pretty much dropped off the map. She did this to avoid paying a huge percentage of her earnings to her soon to be ex-husband (and I believe, manager.) She has chosen to stop doing something she loves (and is risking being able to ever do it again) rather than make anymore money for her husband, as he is rumored to have been sleeping with her secretary.

The consensus among many singers was get a pre-nup. "Making it" is often a matter of being in the right place at the right time and you never know who it's going to happen to. It may seem hurtful and confusing to the parter who is supporting you at the beginning of your career but it's important to protect yourself and your future. Rough Stuff...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:28 am 
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You can all see why I wasn't sure which forum this belonged to, as there are clearly some non-financial aspects to this subject.

A similar subject, as previously mentioned, is whether to keep separate accounts or to combine them. My personal belief is to combine them, as I see similar "trust" issues as with the subject of a pre-nup. I know several couples who keep separate accounts (but who would not have considered a pre-nup) and always seem to have money squabbles. Would joint accounts solve that? Probably not entirely, but I think it would benefit them to be thinking as a "team" as opposed to individuals.

My idea of a pre-nup is to account for what goes in and what comes out. Anything brought into the marriage gets set aside and that person gets to take it away in the unfortunate event of divorce. Anything made during the marriage gets split 50/50. If one person has debts (such as higher education) that get paid for during the marriage, that will presumably be a decision that the couple makes together. Likewise, if the couple chooses to have children and one of them decides to stay home, that will have to be a joint decision. But as long as the couple stays married, the working partner's savings would still be split 50/50, so that it doesn't penalize the stay-at-home parent. In the event that the assets at divorce are less than the assets at marriage, a pro-rata calculation based on pre-marital assets will have to be applied.

I don't think that the child-support system is always fair, but I don't know enough about the expenses involved to say whether or not that can be negotiated in a pre-nup. Probably not.


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