Is a Prenuptial Agreement Ridiculous or Rational? It might depend. My wife and I married young, right out of college. Neither of us had much money and we each start with some debt from school, but nothing outside of what typical Americans face; we were pretty much starting with a clear slate. I had just purchased my own house, but there was not much equity in it and she’d been “co-habitating” with me for the year we were engaged anyway, so courts given what they were would probably make it difficult to easily separate out ownership even though my name was on the deed. As we approached wedding day, I never even contemplated a prenuptial agreement, primarily because it seemed quite unnecessary in what was a typical low-asset young marriage. I had previously considered prenups to be a tacky maneuver rich sports stars and movie actors employed when they were marrying someone pretty much knowing they’d be divorced within a few years (well, at least anyone watching could predict they’d be divorced even if they were naive enough to believe otherwise – We all know how celebrity weddings go). But consider for a moment yourself in a more realistic situation years down the road.
To Prenup or Not to Prenup – That is the Question
Let’s say you’re 40 and single with a kid or two. You’re either recently divorced, never married yet or whatever. You’re the recipient of a decent-sized inheritance and you’ve done well professionally. You’re not “super-rich”, but the money and assets (house, investments) are certainly generational wealth-type money. At this point, it’s virtually assured you can send your kids to an ivy league school if they so choose and you’re guaranteed a comfortable retirement. Along comes Mr. or Ms. Right. They’re great, you guys click, they love the kids, etc. You’re ready to pop the question (or have it asked of you). Bear in mind that they’re middle of the road financially – a little debt, average income, not much in the bank, some fallout from a prior divorce – actually, a very typical American.
With these factors in mind, would it be out of the question to request a Prenuptial Agreement?
Aside from the potential emotional and trust issues associated with it, let’s say the issue was broached in a manner that didn’t engender major issues – perhaps it was touched on many times over the duration of the relationship more as a matter of interest or prodding, but never asked outright. Would it be right?
On one hand, the optimistic and perpetual marriage proponents would say it’s a ridiculous notion to ask for a prenuptial agreement, otherwise you shouldn’t even be getting married. Money aside, if there’s any doubt in your mind that the marriage won’t last, then why bother? On the other hand, there’s the experience pragmatist, who’s seen this play out over and over again – couples divorce. It’s actually about as likely as it is not to divorce. You’re basically rolling the dice statistically speaking. And in this case, you have a lot to lose. We’re talking family money that was meant to go to your kids and their kids in future generations – that could be going to your ex and their new family in a few years while you sit their stewing. Is there an OBLIGATION to protect money that was earned, saved and disbursed within your family? Because without a pre-nup, it may be about 50/50, regardless of what each spouse came into the relationship with.
Fortunately for me, I never had to seriously contemplate such an issue, nor would I want to. But if I were in the hypothetical situation above, I guess I’d at least need to confront the issue internally before I just blindly jumped into a contract that could deplete generational wealth assets and change the course of my kids’ lives, right?
Would You EVER Consider a Prenup Under Any Circumstances?