>I could possibly step on quite a few toes with this piece, but when have I ever truly been a status quo type of person? I will however spare many of you the pain and agony of a long, drawn-out analysis or reflection on love, relationships, and marriage and cut straight to the chase in this quick two-part series that will address a taboo subject that I feel brave enough to tackle. Let me see that smile!
I have watched many relationships fall apart during the dating and engagement stages and several fall apart through divorce. There are numerous reasons for these break-ups, but a great deal of issues resulted from how money and finances played a role in these relationships. Whether one half of the couple was well-off financially and the other one was living just-over-broke (and sucking the life out of their significant other’s bank account); both were well-off but one mismanaged their funds (or dictated how they would be managed); or both were broker than a bad joke and fought over how they would make a dollar out of fifteen cents- the case is that money became an issue.
I am a firm believer in prenuptial agreements (prenup). Oh gosh did I just cuss?
I know a lot of women who look at me like I just called them some scandalous names, while I also have entered some heated debates in previous relationships with men who could not fathom why I wanted a prenup before marrying them. It is simply this:
If you truly are marrying out of love, not convenience; love not status; love not desperation; love not out of default; love and not because of family and societal pressures; truly because you love and want to spend the rest of your life with this other person- then why not remove the financial aspect out of the equation upfront? One or both of you worked long and hard to attain a level of financial satisfaction and you most likely achieved this before you fell so madly in love with the person you hope to call your spouse one day. So why should this person be granted the right to take upwards of 50% of your personally-acquired wealth as their own simply because they are your husband or wife?
What if right now you don’t have a clue as to how you will pay your Internet Service Provider this month so that you can continue reading my blog posts, but you have aspirations of wealth-building- shouldn’t you consider this and the realities that the person you love today may despise you at some point during your marriage?
I’m a sappy romantic, while at the same time a true-blue realist. For me the reality is clear that if I were to ever become engaged again, I would want a prenup drafted, signed, and the ink dry before we say “I do”. I think that people don’t understand the flexibility and freedom that prenups provide. Yes, it should require lawyer-participation (so that it is legally binding) which means spending some money, but I would rather we shell out several hundred dollars upfront, than several thousands or more in divorce proceedings.
Some people think that prenups say, “you leave with nothing if we divorce”. This simply is not true. Granted, it could say that- but it can also say so much more. Your agreement can be outlined to say a number of things and address all types of scenarios such as how the two of you will handle any future children that you have together, any children that you currently parent as a couple. It can say how the two of you will handle the future acquisition and possible separation of community property; it can say almost anything.
You can have the agreement outline how you will share or maintain separate bank accounts, how you will share a pet, or who gets the pet upon dissolution of marriage. We know we have all heard of couples fighting over family pets- don’t act like you wouldn’t go off if the person you love later says, “and I’m taking Dino with me”. Do you really want the china her parents gave you as a wedding shower gift? Do you really want his golf clubs or his boat? Come on now, you don’t golf and you get motion-sickness, you only want these things out of spite!
A prenup is also an agreement that can be modified post-nuptially if the two of you see fit. Are you rolling your eyes at me right now? Am I kicking up too much dust for you to handle? Well, tomorrow let’s kick up some more as we return for part two of this two-part series!
See ya then. I look forward to your thoughts, reactions, comments, and respectful rantings!
Natasha L. Foreman
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.