Would you sign a pre-nup?

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 19, 2010 4:16 AM

I am insisting on a pre-nup even though my fiance is not terribly keen.

My idea of a pre-nup is simple: what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. What we buy together (house, cars etc) should be split according to how we contributed. In SA, this type of contract is called "marriage contract with accrual". It simply means that if I contribute (e.g.) 10% financially, I should not be entitled to say, 50% plus alimony and maintenance etc. It also means that each spouse is responsible for their own debt and in the event of the death of a spouse, the living spouse is not saddled with the deceased spouse's debt.

I think this is fair.

What do you think?

Would you sign a pre-nup? Would you refuse? What are your reasons, if you feel comfortable sharing.

My reason for wanting a pre-nup is simple: financial security. If either of us starts a business, our home will be transferred to our children (if we have any by then) or the other spouse. This means that if the business goes bust, the family is guaranteed a roof over their heads and a modicum of financial security.

Edited by: CapeTownBride on Aug 19, 2010 4:17 AM

Edited by: CapeTownBride on Aug 19, 2010 4:21 AM

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sassy411 Posts : 52 Registered: 8/16/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 19, 2010 9:08 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Sure. Life is complicated these days & it makes perfect sense to work things out while you are feeling fond of each other.

That said, I suggest speaking with an attorney--you & FH should each have your own. State laws may vary & you want to be certain nothing you do is subject to legal challenge down the road.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 19, 2010 10:53 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Dear CTB,

I can't really advice you on a pre-nup as I have no clue what the laws are in South Africa. Here in the US, marital laws vary by state, as well.

Both parties should have their own lawyers to review the pre-nup. That's about it.

Having said that, I did not have a pre-nup. I got married when my husband and I were both in graduate school, and our combined assets were close to $0. We got married in a community property state, so any thing earned after the marriage would have been community property, anyway, regardless of a pre-nup.

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HereComesTheGroom Posts : 9 Registered: 8/20/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 20, 2010 8:03 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I would be happy to sign a pre-nup. If it meant spending a lifetime together with my partner, it would be a small hurdle to get past. But, since we can't be legally wed, I suppose I don't have to put much thought into it.

"I love you. I honestly love you..." - ONJ

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angiebgreat Posts : 11 Registered: 8/20/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 20, 2010 4:21 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I have to say that ever since the "prenup" words have been given to us as part of a marraige ritual I have always felt such a heavy weight on that phrase. For some reason I have felt it like a "I dare you" statement coming into the marriage.

To me marriage is a give and take, daily challenges tackled together, highs and lows lived, discoveries made with each other and independently. So many days go by and my husband and I still cherish what we do have and what we dont. I keep thinking with out all of it its still us! Granted we finanically arent the "Vanderbilts" but its something that we both strive for together

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 20, 2010 7:52 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB - I think one of the posts that I was sorry to see lost with that poster the other day was when you explained the situation with your father I think....

If you could repost that, it would be great.

 

 

 

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 20, 2010 8:52 PM Go to message in response to: PharmToxGirl

Dear PTG,

"I think one of the posts that I was sorry to see lost with that poster the other day was when you explained the situation with your father I think...."

It was in reply to that Holier-Than-Thou person who said that pre-nups are not necessary if you plan to spend all eternity with each other.

What an idiot.

Here is what I replied.

All marriages end, either by death or divorce. All. Marriages. End.

We would like to hope our marriage ends in death, but even so there is no taking it with you. No moving vans at the funeral. There needs to be some provision for the distribution of one's assets following death.

If the couple gets married while young, with no substantial assets and no children from prior relationships, then I can't see there's a giant need for a pre-nup. (Our situation.)

If the couple gets married later in life OR if either has children from prior relationships, then they are well advised to consider a pre-nup.

My father was a devout Christian, one that even Miss Holier-Than-Thou would approve. His first marriage (to my mother) ended in death, then he married a widow.

Both had children, obviously, from their first marriages. Both were from affluent middle-class backgrounds, however my step-mother had liquidated much of her prior marital assets in a futile attempt to save her son, before he died of an AIDS related disease.

Thus, when my father married my step-mother he had much more money that she did.

They wrote a pre-nup which had two main provisions:

1. The money would be kept separate, and willed to their respective children just as if they had never married.

2. Should my father predecease his new wife (which he did do), his estate would be held in a testamentary trust for her benefit, then upon her death given to me and my brother. That is exactly what happened.

Thus she was well taken care of in the last years of her life and my brother and I got all that was "coming" to us, just a bit later than it would have been should my father not gotten remarried. I just lived a while without my father's inheritance, which was fine with me. I loved my step-mother dearly and was happy she was supported by the interest from my father's trust.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 20, 2010 8:56 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Ladies,

I'll add this.

I mentioned in different messages that my parents were devout Christians, which they were, and that I was conceived and born outside wedlock, which I was.

Some might say "Huh? Does not compute.".

I was born in a high school romance, then released for adoption. I was adopted as an infant by a married couple who felt called by God to complete their family by adoption.

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JessyNChris Posts : 120 Registered: 4/3/08
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 21, 2010 2:24 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I'm going to school to become a paralegal, and I took family law a few years ago. In the class we learned about pre-nups. I think it's great thing to have. I sent info to my FH, and talked to him about it. He said we could do it, but I don't know if we will.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting  Waiting to be Mrs. Styskal 

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 23, 2010 2:31 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Thanks for all the responses!

I've discussed it with my FI and we've agreed to see a lawyer when we're closer to the wedding!

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lissagettingmar... Posts : 22 Registered: 5/29/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 26, 2010 1:33 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I think signing a pre-nup is fine and I would, but I don't necessarily agree with your assessment and I don't think agreements are that simple.

Financial benefit doesn't come solely from financial contributions. For example, I use my parents. My father worked outside the home and my mother was a stay at home mother - sometimes she worked odd jobs like doing child care in her own home or being a sales associate part-time, but her primary role was a stay-at-home mother Technically, she contributed 0% or very nearly that during the years of my childhood and my father contributed almost 100%. However, her role as a childcare provider for the three of us was what enabled my father to work full-time. If she was not a stay at home mother, either he would have had to arrange his schedule to care for us or they would have had to pay for childcare, and he wouldn't be able to buy the things he did.

So do I think it would be fair for my father to take 100% of the house we live in and my mother 0%, even though she did not contribute financially to the purchase house? No, because first of all her childcare enabled my father to have the money to purchase the house. Second of all, her odd jobs and an inheritance she got when her father died paid for some upgrades to the house - like the landscaping, the backyard fence and the in-ground pool - so even though she didn't assist in the purchase, some of the raised value is hers.

I think a lot of people don't understand that pre-nuptial agreements aren't JUST for cases of divorce. I do like the idea that individually accrued debt remains the responsibility of that spouse - and dies with that spouse. But I don't take a "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours" approach. Marriage is a partnership - a financial partnership as well as a romantic one - and in my personal opinion, if two parties want to maintain separate financial beings they might as well not get married and just maintain a romantic relationship without marriage. That's not to say I don't agree with the signing of a pre-nup, especially in cases where one spouse is making far more than the other and there's the possibility of the lower-income spouse using the higher-income spouse without the higher-income spouses knowledge.

But I think that people who are getting married should realize they aren't just entering into a "loooove match" - they're also tying themselves together legally and financially. I also want to point out that circumstances often change during the marriage and pre-nups often are not honored because they have either become obsolete under new arrangements or whatever. It's been many a judge that has invalidated a pre-nup in cases like my parents, where one spouse was a stay-at-home parent or a part-time worker so that they could arrange for childcare free of cost for the higher earner. Even in situations where there are no children, often an unemployed spouse (usually the wife) has helped to build their spouse's career and reputation in non-tangible ways that juduges can recognize.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 26, 2010 1:55 PM Go to message in response to: lissagettingmar...

But I don't take a "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours" approach. Marriage is a partnership - a financial partnership as well as a romantic one - and in my personal opinion, if two parties want to maintain separate financial beings they might as well not get married and just maintain a romantic relationship without marriage.

This is contracting - at least how I'm reading it. So I don't get what you are saying here.

A lot of states what's earned after marriage is moot because it doesn't belong to either person and each has a right to the money earned, even if they are a stay at home Mom.

We didn't sign a prenup - I owned a house, but I put my husband on the deed and mortgage. In the event of either of our deaths it goes to the other - free and clear of the mortgage because of the insurance we have on it.

But I'm still responsible for my debt - I don't expect him to pay my debt I accrued before we married.

It works for us.

 

 

 

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TheShrinkingBride Posts : 16 Registered: 8/26/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 26, 2010 2:27 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I would probably prefer not to. But I would, and would totally understand signing one that unequivocally made certain that what was brought into the marriage separately would then leave the marriage separately.

I would not be interested in signing one that apportioned post-marriage assets in some way. I feel that a marriage is a partnership that involves risks and rewards of all sorts. Life always involves some amount of risk and I think that it's counter productive to spend so much time and effort preparing for a disaster when really, the effort should be put into choosing the right mate or making the relationship work.

Just my 2 cents really. But I'm 37, a first time bride, and feel strongly that I've made a solid choice in a future husband. We've been together for over a decade already but I understand that we are coming together after many years of separate careers and separate assets.

-TSB

----- blog: The Shrinking Bride

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JessohJess Posts : 1 Registered: 8/29/10
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 29, 2010 11:48 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I think pre-nups are essential in our time, especially if you have a lot of assets already.

I think that all couples basically go into the marriage with the belief they will be "together forever", but truth be told, it's not a very healthy and/or realistic view to have when you get married, considering the ever-increasing divorce rates these days.

Getting a pre-nup is NOT setting yourself up for a divorce or anything like that, it's basically fool-proofing the marriage financially, so that if - IF - things don't turn out well and a divorce is decided upon, no one gets robbed, basically. Everything has been decided for already on paper witnessed by a lawyer, and it makes divorce that much less painless and stressful.

It's essential, as I said, and I'm going to sign one myself.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Would you sign a pre-nup?
Posted: Aug 30, 2010 10:18 AM Go to message in response to: JessohJess

Dear Jess,

" IF - things don't turn out well and a divorce is decided upon"

Or if things turn out great and the marriage ends in death...

The marriage will end. Death or divorce, the marriage will end. If the couple have significant assets and/or children from previous relationships they may want to assign assets and protect children in the event of death as well as divorce.

Pre-nups are not necessarily only for those anticipating divorce.

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