Prenup

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Prenup

Postby Okita » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:12 am UTC

Interesting question. Is the prenuptial agreement a good or bad thing? Some say it implies lack of trust.

Then again, I've met others who claim it's the only true protection that worked when their significant other turned out to be cheating on them.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:14 am UTC

Yes, but to get it out of the way, you have to say to the woman / man you want to marry, BEFORE the marriage, when you're in love, "Because I think you may turn out to be a psycho bitch who will rob me, I'd like you to sign this document."

Good luck.

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Postby Okita » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:41 am UTC

"Because I think you may turn out to be a psycho bitch who will rob me, I'd like you to sign this document."


That would be a problem wouldn't it. "I want you to sign this so we can marry knowing that you're not in love with my paycheck" doesn't sound much better either.

Oh, I forgot to write that I was wondering about US law related prenups.

Although... Prenuptial agreements override state law so in some cases it can be beneficial. Ex. Let's say the husband's family is crazy and greedy. A prenuptial agreement would override state laws that would normally provide the family with a lot more money than the spouse might need to survive in the event that say the husband dies or becomes incapacitated.

Course that's a strange scenario. But the point is that a prenup not just deals with divorce but also death. At least, that's what lawyers write. I wonder why not use a will though...

I've also read that a prenup is beneficial for retirement accounts since they are considered marital assets. Theoretically, a prenup would determine how much a spouse contributes to your retirement account. Then again, I don't see how this is supposed to be a good thing either.

I'm not getting married mind you. Someone just brought up the topic at work today and I was curious. It mainly involved someone in their second marriage and how the prenup supposedly also covered child custody of pre-marriage children or something.
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Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:00 am UTC

It's just good sense really. You can never truly know a person. Someone could be a damn fine actor and your little lovebird for every moment of every day for ten years, then stab you in the back the first month of marriage and walk away with everything you own.

I tend to see it as a sign of trust, and a sign of their good intentions, if they're willing to sign it. You might find that a bit strange, but if they're willing to put their legals into a bit cloudy language for you, they're probably good, and if they're willing to sign something which prevents them from taking every penny you own in event of a divorce, that shows good intentions.
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Re: Prenup

Postby iop » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:03 am UTC

Okita wrote:Interesting question. Is the prenuptial agreement a good or bad thing? Some say it implies lack of trust.

Then again, I've met others who claim it's the only true protection that worked when their significant other turned out to be cheating on them.


It is like insurance. The same way you aren't planning on ruining someone else's property when you sign up for a personal liability insurance, you don't plan on divorcing when you do a prenup. However, it can save you tons of trouble later.

Also, a prenup makes you talk about money before marriage. How much do you each own, will you both continue having your own separate bank accounts (and separate possessions), or will you share every future penny you earn, and every future purchase you make?

Needless to say that I signed a prenup, with the clear intention of never divorcing my wonderful wife.

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Postby Bondolon » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:07 am UTC

To be fair. a prenup is like saying "IF this goes crazy, let's have a contingency plan for the both of us." As relationships are rarely... rational, this rarely works. However, I think that it can be a very rational decision... though, of course, rational people don't need prenups, because they'll likely be fair anyway.

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Postby TheStranger » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:34 am UTC

Signing a pre-nuptual is just good sense, for both parties. A marriage is a contract, pure and simple, and its a good idea to set the ground rules. It in no way says "this isn't going to last" or "I'm a greedy SoB who doesn't want to share"
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Postby Hawknc » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:33 am UTC

I didn't worry about one (anything I own of value is generally 1-up'd by my wife anyway), but I can see the value in them. For it to work, though, it requires both parties to be rational and say "okay, we want this to last forever, but there is the possibility that it might not for whatever reason and denying that doesn't make that possibility any less real". Getting that rationality out of some people can be difficult.

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Postby mister k » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:00 pm UTC

Bondolon wrote:To be fair. a prenup is like saying "IF this goes crazy, let's have a contingency plan for the both of us." As relationships are rarely... rational, this rarely works. However, I think that it can be a very rational decision... though, of course, rational people don't need prenups, because they'll likely be fair anyway.


I dunno, I think in all rationality that if I'm getting seperated from someone I might as well screw them for all they are worth. It's the emotional stuff that might make you, you know, not leave them bankrupt. Although emotional stuff can lead you to want to do that as well- oh happy union of rationality and irrationality!

As to a prenup- I don't actually fully understand them anyway, and do they cover for the chance that one partner's personal circumstances might dramatically change? What was fair a year ago may not be fair anymore.

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Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:50 pm UTC

mister k wrote:I dunno, I think in all rationality that if I'm getting seperated from someone I might as well screw them for all they are worth.

I've never seen a more solid argument for prenups.
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Postby kilgore trout » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:50 pm UTC

Prenups can serve a purpose beyond the relationship of the two individuals who are getting married. For example, if you are marrying someone who is part of a family business, their money is also their family's money. A prenup would protect the siblings assets from becoming fair game in divorce court.

I don't think asking a person to sign a prenup demonstrates a lack of trust, but rather a good grasp of statistics. No matter how special you think you are roughly 50% of marriages fail, so gook luck guessing which side of the statistical pool you are going to fall into.

Of course if you bring no money, assets, or children into a marriage, there really is no need for a prenup.

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Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:04 pm UTC

kilgore trout wrote:Of course if you bring no money, assets, or children into a marriage, there really is no need for a prenup.

Untrue; one could easily develop individual assets after marriage, with which one's partner was in no way involved.
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Postby Okita » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:11 pm UTC

Just to step in... Prenuptials are legal agreements for both parties in a marriage.

Technically (depending on state law), a wife could get a prenup that says the wife is entitled to 90% of assets if the husband ever gains more than 250 lb. The "You're a fat fuck, get off the couch!" clause if you will.

So it can also include any assets that come in afterwards. Like if someone wins the lottery or something.
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Postby iknoritesrsly » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:55 pm UTC

I think it's a good thing. I don't see why it should convey a lack of trust, it's just an assurance that someone really loves you.

If someone refuses to marry me on the grounds that "I don't trust them" because I want them to sign a prenup, that's about where things will come to a halt on the grounds that they're right, I really wouldn't trust them.
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Postby Phenriz » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

I'd only get a prenup if i were heavily invested.

seeing as how i'm not, i'd have to be looking to marry someone without a job at all, to even worry about a prenup at this point.

They are useful if you have the investments to warrant it, seeing as how i don't, it's not something i'd even a subject i'd broach to my fiance.
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Postby 22/7 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:22 pm UTC

I don't think it's fair to say "I don't see why people see it as a lack of trust" because that's exactly what it is. I'm not particularly against prenups, but if you trusted your spouse and your relationship completely, the thought of a prenup would never enter your mind. Going back to the insurance thing.

Do I get car insurance because I'm an amazing driver who never drives except under perfect circumstances and when no one else is on the road? Or do I get insurance because I do indeed put myself in a position (every single time I get in the car) where *something* might go wrong (wet roads, driver error, other driver error, tiredness, etc.)? You get the insurance for the second possibility, whereas you have complete faith in the first (as it is the 100% ideal situation).

So yeah, prenup = lack of trust to some degree. Even if that degree is small, it's still there and the prenup is evidence of it.
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Postby Dalenthas » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

Signing prenup == trust.
Not signing prenup == !trust.

If someone doesn't want a prenup, chances are they aren't worth marrying.
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Postby 22/7 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:34 pm UTC

Dalenthas wrote:Signing prenup == trust.
Not signing prenup == !trust.

If someone doesn't want a prenup, chances are they aren't worth marrying.


Wow, to all of you who've already said you didn't get prenups, sorry bout ya.

Signing a prenup does not equate to trust. If you completely trusted the person, you would never consider a prenup. Now, in that short and completely unsupported post, what you may have be inching towards was that, once a prenup has been signed, there's a lot of relief and therefore any mistrust that was previously there is not something to worry about anymore.

Think about it this way. You've got a gold digger and a railroad tycoon. The gold digger (goldigga) divorces the tycoon and gets half because there was no prenup. Are you telling me that the railroad tycoon *didn't* trust his gold digging new bride and *that's* why he didn't make her sign one? If indeed that were true, he *would* have made her sign one.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby Dalenthas » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:03 pm UTC

Think about it this way: I can either fall back and hope you catch me to prove my trust, or I can ask you to sign a piece of paper and accept you based on your word that you'd catch me if I fall.

What I meant was, if I asked someone for a prenup and they said "But honey, don't you trust me?" I'd immidiately lose all trust I had. Trusting someone 100% is just ignorance, IMHO. But then, you don't need to 100% trust someone to marry them, just trust them enough to not drain your accounts and skip off to a country that doesn't extradite.

EDIT: Also, is your sig a reference to the Warcraft 2 Tip of the Day dialogs? Some of those were pretty funny.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:05 pm UTC

Of course you don't trust the other person, but you never SAY it out loud like that by asking for a prenup... that's just silly.

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Postby Belial » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:08 pm UTC

It's not that you don't trust them.

It's that you don't necessarily trust who they're going to be 10 years from now.
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Postby 22/7 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:10 pm UTC

@ Dalenthas: Yeah, I get what you're saying, but you and I are looking at this from two different perspectives. You're talking about getting the actual prenup or *after* getting it, and I'm talking about before. Either you trust someone completely, in which case you'd never dream of asking them for a prenup, or you don't, in which case you should certainly get a prenup. The other problem is I'm talking about the "engineering assume ideal conditions" and you're talking about real life. All I'm really saying is that to say that you "completely trust someone" and that you're asking for a prenup are mutually exclusive.

In other words, nobody keeps canned food in the basement for an apocalypse that they are 100% certain is never going to happen.

Dalenthas wrote:EDIT: Also, is your sig a reference to the Warcraft 2 Tip of the Day dialogs? Some of those were pretty funny.


I thought it was from Warcraft, but it may have been from II. I was never all that good at rts games and the original was about as complex as I could handle. II and III were way over my head, which is why I think it was from the original.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:12 pm UTC

22/7, you're right until a prenuptial actually comes up, then it reverses everything.

Your example:

Prenup= -trust
-Prenup= trust

What happens when you actually bring in a prenup:
Sign= +Trust
-Sign = -Trust+End

Why does signing give trust? Because it goes both ways, if you sign, you reassure them, and you know that you can trust them.

Even if that does seem bass-ackwards.

Heehee. Bass-ackwards.
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Postby iop » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:12 pm UTC

To me, prenup/not prenup is not a question of trust. It's a question of smart.

Before you marry, you should anyway talk about what happens to the money you both have, and the money you both will earn.
Then, a prenup will simply codify your agreement, and help make sure that you understood exactly the same thing in the agreement.

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Postby Thematic-Device » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:15 pm UTC

some venture capital firms require couples to get them, regardless of how much the couple trusts each other, (and they have postnupts too) because while everyone has a stake in the venture, its very difficult to impossible to sell that stake until the end, and the firms want to make sure that they don't get bogged down in divorce worries.

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Postby 22/7 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:21 pm UTC

Insignificant Deification wrote:22/7, you're right until a prenuptial actually comes up, then it reverses everything.

Your example:

Prenup= -trust
-Prenup= trust

What happens when you actually bring in a prenup:
Sign= +Trust
-Sign = -Trust+End

Why does signing give trust? Because it goes both ways, if you sign, you reassure them, and you know that you can trust them.


This is exactly what I was saying. Well, the first part anyway. However, the second part I can't completely agree to. Here you're assuming that the prenup is brought up by both parties or that one brought it to the other and the other one was thinking about it too. If one person does not want one, and the other person brings it up, then you've immediately created -trust just by bringing one up. So regardless of whether or not both people sign it, there is some -trust.

But I think the difference between what we're saying is that you're saying "both people think a prenup should be signed" and I'm saying "not necessarily."
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby zenten » Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:47 pm UTC

I believe my partner and I are both cool with how the law where we will would separate out stuff if we were to get divorced, so we're not really considering it at all.

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Postby Aetre » Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:14 pm UTC

It's a good idea.

With just about half of all marriages ending in divorce, you're best off having one. All it does is protects what you each have coming into the marriage.

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Postby 22/7 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:48 pm UTC

Aetre wrote:It's a good idea.

With just about half of all marriages ending in divorce, you're best off having one. All it does is protects what you each have coming into the marriage.


I believe that's a US stat, is it not?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby Okita » Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:25 am UTC

"THEM" being...Canada?
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Postby sunkistbabe1 » Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:18 am UTC

22/7 wrote:Signing a prenup does not equate to trust. If you completely trusted the person, you would never consider a prenup. Now, in that short and completely unsupported post, what you may have be inching towards was that, once a prenup has been signed, there's a lot of relief and therefore any mistrust that was previously there is not something to worry about anymore.


I think I can see all sides to this.

On one hand I think I might have been a little offended if I was asked to sign a prenup. We lived together for 5 years before marrying, so we had an idea if we could stand each other the rest of our lives. Also, we made the same amount of money then, so there wasn't a worry if we split, we'd both be able to support ourselves.

On the other hand, I do trust my husband, and I think I would have signed one if he brought it up. However, I honestly cannot see us divorcing in the future. But I bet a lot of couples who split said the same thing.

Maybe us both being computer professionals and being able to make decent money is why we never worried about something like a prenup. Honestly, I don't know if it's something that is done much in Canada, I've never known anyone who had one.

I can see prenups being handy when one person has a lot to lose. Having invested in a family business was a good example, you do not want to risk your family's money as well in case things go sour.

I can also see prenups as a sign of lack of trust (in cases where both people may have equal or close to equal in assets/money). If you do not trust the person you want to marry, why do you want to marry.

I guess it boils down to each individual situation.
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Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:32 am UTC

Quite, I think the big thing here is seeing it as a sign of lack of trust on the part of the person bringing it up.

To me, it's just common sense, because love is blind, they might not be able to forsee the sudden relieving of all of their money by the one they love. Just because you trust someone doesn't mean you still shouldn't prepare for the unexpected...

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Postby arbivark » Sat Aug 25, 2007 6:06 am UTC

disclaimer: i'm a libertarian and a lawyer; i tend to view society as a series of agreements.

prenups: good, but not just "sign this form, ok, thx?"
In the same way many people write their vows, a thought-out, negotiated, planned written statement of what the partnership arrangement will be is a good thing.
I had a girlfriend once for 6 years, kinda thought of us as married, but we took it one day at a time, she was free to leave, one day she did.

I have a long term tenant at a house i own. It's a handshake deal - he pays $300 every month, he gets to stay there. But I wish we'd done a written lease at the beginning. Stuff like "it's not ok for your buddies to throw cigarette butts in the yard." Stuff like "who fixes the plumbing if there's a leak under the house?" We had some different expectations, and it would have been helpful to have it more spelled out in black and white.

so a prenup could address, how many kids do we want? who will do the laundry? do we retire to florida or stay here till we die?
are we organ donors? cremation, burial, college fund?
maybe that stuff doesn't go in the agreement, but talk it all out in putting together an agreement.
a prenup is for if you -don't- get divorced.

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Postby iop » Sat Aug 25, 2007 6:17 am UTC

zenten wrote:I believe my partner and I are both cool with how the law where we will would separate out stuff if we were to get divorced, so we're not really considering it at all.


Which is very similar to doing a prenup - you discussed about where the money would go, you found an agreement, and you realized that the law already provide for it.

But I still can't quite understand how you could go into marriage without even thinking about who the money belongs to that you are going to earn. From which bank account are you going to pay for a car? What if only one of the two works? Will s/he get a monthly allowance?
And if you did talk about that, you may have made a verbal agreement, which is really not that far from a prenup.

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Postby kilgore trout » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:09 pm UTC

Untrue; one could easily develop individual assets after marriage, with which one's partner was in no way involved.


Yes, one could easily develop assets after marriage. Most people do. The point of the prenup is to deal with the assets you bring into a marriage. Planning for supposed assets you might attain in the future requires a lot of guesswork, and can be more easily dealt with once you actually have the asset.

I don't think prenups are worth it if you are two poor college students bringing nothing into a marriage but a ten year old car. I think a prenup should be reserved for assets and money that is of a considerable amount, and where other people outside of the marriage couple may be involved. However, I think it is of extreme importance to discuss and decide before marriage your financial situation, and plans for home and car purchases.

so a prenup could address, how many kids do we want? who will do the laundry? do we retire to florida or stay here till we die?
are we organ donors? cremation, burial, college fund?
maybe that stuff doesn't go in the agreement, but talk it all out in putting together an agreement.
a prenup is for if you -don't- get divorced.


Organ donation, cremation, burial, etc. can be addressed by a will instead of a prenup.

I think the other issues you mentioned should be discussed and decided upon before and during your marriage. I don't think I would go as far as putting it into a prenuptial agreement, but you could devise an informal marriage contract between the two of you (no lawyers involved) in order to make sure both parties have similar goals and values for the future.

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Postby 22/7 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:33 pm UTC

@kilgore: What about two poor college students, one of which has a law degree from, say, Harvard, and a lead on a good job working for a top tier law firm in NYC, and the other has a degree in studio art and a good lead at as a manager at a local Burger King? Still no prenup?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Postby mosc » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:55 pm UTC

why should I have signed a pre-nup? My wife and I were young and had no real assets. Everything I own now has been earned since we got married. I have a generally higher paying degree it's true but I don't think my wife is less worthy of whatever we own. She works harder and takes care of the house as well.

Pre-nups are only for people with assets to protect. For those of us without a massive inheritance or a movie star gig, they're kinda silly don't you think?
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

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kilgore trout
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Postby kilgore trout » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:49 pm UTC

What about two poor college students, one of which has a law degree from, say, Harvard, and a lead on a good job working for a top tier law firm in NYC, and the other has a degree in studio art and a good lead at as a manager at a local Burger King? Still no prenup?


I don't think EVERYONE should get a prenup. The hypothetical situation you suggested in my opinon, does not warrant a prenup. I only support a prenup when there is significant amounts of money or assets coming in to the marriage, or if a family business is involved, or if there are kids coming in to the marriage from previous marriages. I do not think a prenup is for the majority of the population.
Pre-nups are only for people with assets to protect. For those of us without a massive inheritance or a movie star gig, they're kinda silly don't you think?


I agree, most people don't have a ton of money and assets to protect, and for most people a prenup is silly.

zenten
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Postby zenten » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:55 pm UTC

iop wrote:
zenten wrote:I believe my partner and I are both cool with how the law where we will would separate out stuff if we were to get divorced, so we're not really considering it at all.


Which is very similar to doing a prenup - you discussed about where the money would go, you found an agreement, and you realized that the law already provide for it.

But I still can't quite understand how you could go into marriage without even thinking about who the money belongs to that you are going to earn. From which bank account are you going to pay for a car? What if only one of the two works? Will s/he get a monthly allowance?
And if you did talk about that, you may have made a verbal agreement, which is really not that far from a prenup.


That was discussed when we moved in together, and we'll just keep things the same when we're married.


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