By Gina B.
Am I the only person who thinks that everyone who plans to get married should have a pre-nuptial agreement?
Before anyone starts getting righteous, hear me out.
We’re a society obsessed with marriage. When a couple decides to wed, we analyze whether or not they’re a “good couple,” and which member of the pair has the greater financial standing. We make suppositions about who stands to become the financial victor. Is one of them “marrying well,” or “marrying up?”
If that marriage should tank some years (or months) later, we’re all perched on the edges of our seats, hoping to learn the terms of the settlement.
Did she take half, we wonder? Did HE take half, we gasp? If there are children involved, how high are the monthly child support payments, and does she also get maintenance? We wonder if there was a prenuptial agreement to protect the one with the most to lose. It’s all very fascinating.
If you’re reading this article and honestly believe that there’s not a financial element to love – even if you’re not a celebrity – I’m sorry . . . you’re fooling yourself. My own father, a blues artist, wrote and frequently performs one of my favorite songs – “Love is a Five Letter Word (M-O-N-E-Y)”
Although the song is a bit tongue-in-cheek, he does have a point.
You might not enter a relationship with a plan to gain control over your partner’s bank account. Yet, you DO want him to have a superb credit score, positive balance (without outstanding liens), and the wherewithal to be a good earner. And hopefully, if the two of you decide to marry, you will look forward to an enhanced life together – all due to your collective ability to make money and develop joint investments and savings.
Likewise, if you’re a high earner, he might be equally excited to connect with a partner who can bring something to the table besides a fork.
If you’ve reached a certain age, merging households is tricky. Hopefully you’ve accrued individual assets of your own. You might have a sizable savings account, or property that you own outright. Perhaps you’ve benefited from an inheritance.
Whatever the case, you have something to protect. Why should anyone have the right to take those things away from you?
Some will argue that if you plan on a “til death do you part” union, none of this matters.
Well . . . if it doesn’t matter, then why not have one?
Let’s be clear – relationships are great when they’re good, but if they go bad, the very same people that were so in love with one another will become mortal enemies, and they will try to make sure that they’re duly compensated for their pain and suffering.
Some people believe that prenuptial agreements are used as weapons by the one who has the most to lose. They say that using a prenup is like entering the relationship preparing for divorce.
While those points are valid, I’m of the opinion that they’re not ominous at all. First, divorce rates are staggering, and second, if you believe in a forever union “no matter what,” sadly, you’re in the minority.
Also, don’t forget that there are a lot of people who are on the take. You might think you’re with the right person, but there are a lot of wrong people who say the right things. And they’re very convincing.
Prenups are installed to ensure that if the relationship dissolves, everyone leaves with what they came with, plus half of what you’ve built together (or whatever is decided). They remove the guesswork.
If you’re afraid that someone wants to marry you for your inheritance, get an airtight prenup and see if he sticks around. The idea is that you share whatever you have while you’re married . . . but you can’t take it with you if you go.
There are people who say they would be offended if their spouse-to-be insisted on a prenup. Why? If you’re in it for the long run, you’ll never be affected. If the marriage lasts the way it’s supposed to, you can reap the benefits of his assets forever.
So . . . what do YOU think? Is it better to call a lawyer, or take your chances? Leave a comment, and watch us on WCIU.com. We’ll be having this very discussion among the six of us.