Prenuptial agreements or prenups, are all the rage these days now that people are getting smarter about protecting their assets.
WHAT IS A PRENUP?
It’s simply an agreement that each person gets to keep what they brought into the marriage at the start, be it a huge inheritance, and so on.
Other prenups include things like ‘no cheating’ clauses, or depending on the number of children you have, you can have more money out of the family trust.
You can choose to make it what you want.
(This is all stuff somewhat learned from watching fictional Charlotte York of Sex & the City get married to that impotent doctor.)
A PRENUP IS DEPRESSING TO MOST PEOPLE
When you hear that, you think: Well… but if we’re married, shouldn’t we share in the gains AND the pain?
Sure, but when you think about a marriage being for ‘love’ and the joining of two souls into matrimonial harmony, it can all sound very business-like.
Before I can tell you why I don’t think a prenup is depressing or a damper on love, let’s talk about what marriage is.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE?
Marriage at its core of the contract, is a joining of assets. It really isn’t about love.
(That’s what marriage is by the way, a contract.)
Marriage came about in the past because families wanted to merge their assets with other families by way of having children to marry, produce offspring and therefore be “sealed” into the deal for life as ONE, big, happy, rich family.
Love came later, when the diamond industry popped up for engagements for weddings, and celebrities like Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor flashed around a big engagement ring from Richard Burton, and there was talk of being ‘in love and getting married’.
Fast forward to today, and if you are anything like me, you love personal finance so much that you’ll watch things like ‘Rich Bride, Poor Bride’ to have a voyeuristic look at what people spend for what is now termed to be “the biggest party of their lives”.
(I LOVE it when they do a budget recap at the end!)
The average budget for a marriage by the way, is $30,000. 30 Gs for a slammin’ bash.
PRENUPS ARE NOT DEPRESSING AT ALL
I’d want one if I got married, and I’m a no-name podunk woman without millions to her name (a lot of celebrities get prenups if they’re rich so that their husbands don’t jack their fortunes).
I just think it’s fair that what I earned before, doesn’t suddenly get merged with someone else, and vice versa (although I must say that I could very well be the one with the lesser assets).
During the marriage, it doesn’t mean that we can’t share in the gains and the pains either.
I mean, if I won the lottery, I’d split it with my partner. I wouldn’t want to just tell him:
GET OUT! I’M TAKING ALL THE MONEY AND FINDING ME A BOYTOY!
That’s just silly. It means that if a lot of money ruled how I felt and how I acted in relationship, I shouldn’t be in that particular one to begin with.
It can be easy to be rosy-cheeked and wide-eyed when walking down the aisle in a heavy, body-suffocating, $3000 dress you will never wear again, and splashing out $30,000 on a big party to celebrate it all, but sometimes you have to be practical.
Prenups make sense to me.
THE FINAL UNION IS NOT REALLY ‘MARRIAGE’
Marriage is not final these days. In the past, getting divorced sent shivers up everyone’s spine and even today, my parents’ generation can’t fathom getting divorced. It’s a non-issue even if the love has left the marriage.
Today, 50% of people get divorced (but one has to wonder how many get married too early or too hastily in the first place).
No, for me, the ultimate “marriage” is having a child or children, a human being who is half you, and half your partner.
There is no other bond that is more permanent that that one, for good or for worse.
I am not saying that to hurt couples who purposefully choose to be DINKS (Dual-Income No Kids), or don’t ever want to have a screaming bundle of “joy”, but it’s the way I see it.
You can still be in a marriage without kids, and be way more in love for the rest of your lives than someone who has a brood of 20 kids (and I hope you are), but if you were to separate without children, it is a lot easier than if you have an everlasting bond in common.
(Frankly, it’d be easier to be a DINK forever. No muss no fuss.)
With kids, no matter what goes right or wrong between you, you’ll have to continue dealing with your ex, your ex’s family, your kids being shuffled around on holidays, etc.
It comes with joy, but a lot of headache too. You are never really apart from your partner if you have children, they want to be in their lives as well.
So the ultimate union and “contract” deal-sealer, is not marriage, or writing on a piece of paper. It is having a permanent living bond with someone.
SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, A PRENUP IS NOT ALL THAT BAD
As a woman, I want one if I were to get married (not likely, I’m not hung up on marriage, if you haven’t already guessed it by now).
I want to be sure that things are fair and equal even in the event of separation or divorce, and all this talk about it not being romantic or loving has no bearing on my decision because I have seen and heard far too many stories of women and men who have had to deal with their fair share of CRAP from divorcing their loser partners.
I absolutely stand behind the partner who made money, having to support the other for a while after the divorce so that it’s fair and they can get back on their feet to work again, but not for 20 years or longer, and certainly not for their entire life with 50% of their pay (or more) going into their pockets for doing nothing!
I’m not heartless or mean, I would just like things to be fair for everyone.