Can someone explain pre-nups to me?

Unfortunately it isn’t something I need to worry about, but I’ve thought it seems kind of weird. Isn’t it kind of admitting that you don’t think it’s going to last? Why would someone go through with it if their soon-to-be spouse said, “Gee hon, I love you a bunch and all, but I’m not sure it’s going to last so why don’t you sign this piece of paper that says we’re going to make a clean break and you won’t take any of my stuff”?

Can someone explain this to me?

Same reason we buy life insurance. Because as near as I can figure, I won’t be hit by a bus tomorrow, but it might happen. I can’t even predict my own actions to 100 percent, so I certainly can’t predict my wife’s.

Maybe because litigation is so popular in the U.S?

Look at how many warning labels are pasted on something as simple as a ladder.

I recall a case a few years ago where someone sued a bicycle manufacturer because they neglected to advise customers that a light should be used when cycling after dusk!

stankow, yeah, but it surprises me that someone would stick around if the other asked them to sign a pre-nup. I would think it’s like being told that you can’t be trusted.

My father insisted I draw up a pre-nup with my husband before we moved in together (unmarried at that point, but local law is such that after living together for 6 or 12 months I forget which, it’s 50-50 unless there’s a compelling reason)

He was fine about it, knowing that my father was saying it only because he wanted to protect me, not because he thought Mr Goo was scum, or anything. I chose not to, even though Mr Goo was completely happy to sign away, for two reasons. One, my Dad was insisting, and since I was legally an adult, I didn’t like being told what to do (what 18 year old does;) ) and secondly, the fact that he instantly agreed to sign told me I didn’t need to write it out. That second point was a personal decision, for some people, it’s better to go ahead and draw the pre-nup up anyway. People can change during a break, too, and become completely different from the person you once knew.

I don’t think it’s all about not trusting someone, or not thinking it’s going to work out. I think it’s more about being realistic, protecting yourself and to be honest, if a guy wouldn’t sign a pre-nup for me, that raises questions, too, IMO.

I agree. And Goo, don’t forget about a “post nup”. IMO, your dad was right. You need to protect yourself.

If you’re looking for a more positive perspevtive on pre nups, think of it this way – it’s not about a lack of trust between the two of you, it’s about protecting BOTH of you in an emergency (a psychological crisis). Think of it like a fire drill, or the lifenoat drill on a cruise ship.

Goo, I take that back, as far as a pre nup before living together. I misread your post. Living together is an experiment, and I wouldn’t want to get too tied up in legalisms that might spoil the mood either.

Marriage is something else. It FORCES the relationship into the legal arena because it IS a contract, legally speaking. A pre nup is a rider to that contract, and IMO much clearer than your standard, “love, honor and obey” clauses. :stuck_out_tongue:

What if someone becomes a drug or alcohol addict, or becomes psychologically unstable? A prenup can protect the spouse/offspring finiancially. You may think “I wouldn’t marry anyone who would become an addict”, but psychological problems can occur to someone without warning.

My dad has been married 6 times. They have lasted from six months to over 10 years. My mom was #5 and they stayed together 9. He is an orthopedic surgeon and I think his current wife is a gold digger. But, apparently they really love each other. It is the first wedding ring he has ever worn everyday. But a pre-nup was signed and indeed a necessary thing IMO. “Just-in-case” doesn’t seem like a good reason in the romanticism of getting married, but things do happen.

If I were stinking rich, asking a fiance to sign a pre-nup would also be a way of saying “show me that you love me and not my money”

I signed the mother of all pre-nups.

Most of it was also my idea.

The deal: 10 years of nothing for me plus 2 optional periods of 2 years. Meaning a possible 14 years of nothing for me. The idea behind the additional 4 years (2x2 years) was in the event we were having problems…we wouldn’t be forced into divorce because there was a deadline. He would take care of any children, of course.

The reasoning: My husband got burned in his first marriage. He was married for 7 years to his HS sweetheart. She held back his career. She refused to move out of Toledo to Detroit (an hour north) where he had a great job so he had an apartment in both places. No house, no kids. In the divorce agreement she left him with all the debt, 2 years of alimony, no dishes, a reposessed car and barely any furniture. All he had in his living room was a tv and a treadmill. She got married less than a month after the alimony ended. Bitch.

How do I know this? We started dating two days after they were seperated. (He lied about that, came clean on our second date and I dumped him for lying. We started dating again 2 months later.)

I was also going thru a divorce when we met. A bad one. Had my husband arrested for assault and battery. I left everything with him when I ran.

I was bitter, he was bitter. But we were in love.

We lived together for over two years, moving together twice, buying a house together. He proposed, we got engaged and he was in no hurry to set a date. I wanted to have kids and knew he was having issues because he got screwed before. The simplest answer was a prenup…a lengthy one.

I didn’t care and I wasn’t worried about him screwing me over, he’s very passionate about doing the right thing. I trust him and love him. It was a non-issue and I was happy to do it. It made him feel good about my intentions, and that’s all that mattered.

Now if he would just die so I can get everything anyway. :smiley: Kidding.

We’ve been married 4.5 years and have a beautiful kid, as seen here:

There can be lots of good reasons for a pre-nup.

Perhaps one of the two has grown a successful business. If the marriage ends it mean that the bussiness breaks and un-related people could be affected.

Or someone owns some special property. A family heirloom, a house or a bit of land that has been in the family for a long time. Well you would not want the ex to get it or half of it.

Yes there are some people out there who would ‘pretend’ to fall in love with someone just to get at their assets.

Antenuptial agreements, premarital agreements, are of questionable value in divorce because in some/most/all States the divorce statutes exclude property acquired before marriage from the marital pot subject to division in the divorce. They are most useful in the case of death.

In some/most/all States the surviving spouse gets some cut of the dead spouse’s estate. This is the case whether the couple has been married for one hour or fifty years, whether there are children or not, whether there are children of a different relationship or not. The premarital agreement acts to preempt the local distributive share statutes. Remember even if your will says that the surviving spouse gets nothing, the surviving spouse in some/most/all States can elect to take against the will and take (in my State) essentially 1/3 of everything. A person who wants to protect children of a prior marriage or a favorite nephew should consider a premarital agreement.

Probate proceedings and divorces are both equitable proceedings, meaning that questions are decided by the judge, not by a jury, and that the judge is to do what is right and fair within the guidance provided by the statutes and decided cases. The courts will ignore premarital agreements found to be “inequitable.” For instance, judges around here tend to stand on their head to avoid enforcing a premarital agreement that says in the case of divorce there is to be no alimony, especially if the parties’ economic situations are disparate and one has been put at an economic disadvantage because of the marriage or when there has been an extended marriage–as when Mama quits college to put Papa through medical school or law school.

I never received e-mail notification for responses to this thread, so sorry I’m so late in replying.

Yojimboguy where I live, a defacto relationship holds a lot of power. After living together for a certain amount of time (I can’t remember if it was 6 or 12 months) all assets are split 50/50 unless there is a compelling reason (i.e, you can prove you paid for everything and he sponged off you). Therefore there is no reason why if a pre-nup was a good idea before marriage, it wouldn’t be a good idea before moving in together. An experiment that could entitle the other person to half of you money, just for living with you for a certain amount of time (without marriage) is an experiment that could turn nasty.

The mere act of living with someone and sharing bills entitles them to half, after a period of time. This is a serious thing and I can completely understand where my father was coming from.

Anyway, it’s all in the past. We spent it all together, (don’t regret that one bit) are now married, and he’s supporting me while I go back to uni. We’ve both always considered our relationship to be a case of everything’s “ours” not “yours” and “mine” so it was never an issue. I was just trying to show that I understood both sides of the issue, and that I didn’t think pre-nups were good or bad, they were just useful in some situations. I probably just confused thing by using my history as an example.