Would you sign a prenup before marrying a person you loved?

Just curious- a friend of mine (male) signed one recently when marrying a medical intern (female) who will be taking a six figure job in the near future. I had no problem with it, he (the groom who has an office job of some variety) had no problem with it, but several people were adamant.

So, suppose that you are single and in love or otherwise on the verge of marriage. Whatever your current financial situation is suppose that your partner is either significantly wealthier than you are already, has a much higher income than you do, or stands to inherit or otherwise come into a lot of money. Would you be offended if he or she asked you to sign a prenup and or would you sign it?


It’s extremely unlikely that I’ll get married but if I do I’ll probably want my partner to sign one anyway.

If I loved the guy, I probably wouldn’t be offended, but I’d be pretty uncomfortable reducing our relationship to financial terms. What people bring to a relationship isn’t always something that can be measured in dollars; presumably the couple finds this equitable anyway, since they’re planning on getting married. If, god forbid, they should split, the asset-splitting should reflect the current state of their relationship, first of all, and not what was 5 or 10 years ago. It should also take into consideration non-monetary contributions to the relationship, and how to best put a “pricetag” on that, so both are leaving the relationship with something that more-or-less reflects what they gave to it.

Not that such a thing is easy, mind you, and certainly a lot less so if the divorce is acrimonious. There’s not an easy answer for that.

I had a pair of friends who got married. He came from a family with a very successful business; his father is in possession of many millions of dollars. He himself didn’t intend to have anything to do with the business or its money at all, but his family wanted a prenup, so his fiancee signed one.

They got divorced a year later. Indeed, she got nothing.

I would never get married unless we planned on having kids - I don’t see much of a point to it otherwise.* And if kids are going to be involved, I certainly want to make sure that we’re setting things up ahead of time so that we don’t have an expensive and harmful fight later on, if we get a divorce.

*Note that this is how I personally feel about marriage - marriage holds no appeal for me unless I’m planning on fatherhood, but I readily acknowledge that others feel very differently, and I have no truck at all with those who say “only people who can have kids (and thus, not teh gayz) should marry!”

You’re not. You’re reducing your divorce to financial terms. Prenups only come into play if you split up. Otherwise, they’re meaningless. I’d get my fiance to sign one if I thought I could get away with it.

When I pitch the idea, she says “Offering one means that you think we’ll split up.” I say “Oh yeah? Well refusing to sign one also means you think we’ll split up, but also, you reserve the right to fuck me hard.” She says “If you think we’ll make it, don’t make me sign one” and I say “I fyou think we’ll make it, sign one that says I get everything.”

Personally, I think that those that take it as an insult have their heads in the sand. They, for some reason, think that people don’t get divorced. They think that their marriage can’t possibly end. That’s just stupid.

Yes. Divorced once, and if I do it again it is 99% certain either I or her will want one.

You’re reducing your relationship at the time of your divorce to financial terms.

Not at all, and that’s not what I said, of course. I’m saying that non-monetary contributions to a relationship count, too. No one should get screwed in a divorce because their contributions “only” made the relationship run more smoothly for them, and didn’t end up as money in the bank.

The most obvious example is a stay-at-home parent, whose contribution has more value than just the money saved in childcare costs. But there are other similar kinds of circumstances, too, where one partner is contributing more of the money, and the other is contributing more of something else. That doesn’t make the arrangement inequitable, it just makes it something that can’t only be measured in terms of the money thrown into the pot.

Also, things change, and asset-splitting that made sense at the beginning of your relationship may no longer make sense or be fair after several years of both of your contributing in various financial and non-financial ways.

It’s not even that. You’re reducing your divorce to financial terms,* in advance.* It’s not like in the end your divorce is any less dollars and cents if you don’t have a pre-nup. You just have to do with when you’re angry at each other instead of in love.

I hate to call people naive but I think that’s what it boils down to for almost all people who are opposed to them. My parents went through two acrimonious divorces and one civil divorce when I was a child. There’s no way any hypothetical loving relationship of my own could cloud my judgement enough to forget witnessing those.

I’ve never met anyone who said “well my parents went through a bitter divorce and I spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees on my first divorce, to say nothing of all the shit I lost to my ex, but I’d still never sign one because I’d feel unloved”. Maybe that person exists but not that I’ve ever met.

I voted “offended”. It feels to me like you’re going in expecting the relationship to fail. You may not be - it just feels that way.

What? You’re making some pretty big assumptions. Why do you have to believe your marriage can’t possibly end to be insulted by a prenup? It’s like if you walked up to a fat person and said “Hey, you’re fat and are thus more likely to die early. Have you bought life insurance?”

Let’s apply your faulty reasoning: “If they took that as an insult, they obviously MUST think that their obesity will never lead to their death.”

Wrong. You can be perfectly aware of the reality and still feel insulted.


This one’s a big maybe for me. If my husband had wanted one when we got married, I’d have laughed in his face, as we had no assets when we got together, had been living essentially as a married couple for years, and I couldn’t have thought of one single legitimate reason why he’d need one, as all of our assets were pretty much communal at that point anyway.
Now, if something were to happen to my husband and I were planning to marry someone who has kids, retirement funds, and a house (etc) to consider, I would consider a pre-nup to be sensible. The exception to that is this: If I were planning to marry someone with whom I was planning to have children, knowing that my career would be taking a hit for it (not unlikely in the field in which I work), I would absolutely be unwilling to sign a prenup that allowed me to leave the marriage with nothing after sacrificing my career goals in order to have children within it.

Did. Wife was perfectly fine with it. But she’s in finance, so she’s pretty logical when it comes to money - moreso than I am.

Married fifteen years.

No. If he wanted one, I wouldn’t want to marry him. It would just be proof that we were not “on the same page” regarding the committment we were about to make.

I wouldn’t, because I believe prenuptual agreements are fundamentally contradictory to my understanding of wedding vows. That is, I don’t believe I would be saying the vows in complete earnest, having made a prenup.

This is moot, however, as I am laready married.

As I said in my new poll here where I’m trying to break this down by gender:

I think it’s ridiculous to be offended at the idea of signing a prenup. I think it’s outrageous that the presence of a prenup would even cause a moment’s hesitation. People are saying that it’s the equivalent of reducing your marriage to financial terms and I don’t see how that makes sense. There’s no reducing going on. A prenup is a financial contract that only applies to the financial aspect of marriage to begin with.

I really don’t see what the big deal is with prenups. Sure, it’s not romantic to think about the possibility that things won’t go well, but even the best relationship could turn sour in some circumstances. Consider the strain that a relationship might have if one loses their job and can’t find one (not too unthinkable in this enconomy), serious medical or mental illness problems arise, or some major family drama. Even those are low chances, I don’t understand why one wouldn’t want to protect themselves. Moreso, without one, if one of those situations did arise, if one is particularly wealthy, they now are “forced” to stay in a bad marriage out of fear of losing their livelihood. I’d much rather not have her or myself feel like we HAVE to stay in the relationship because of fear of losing our livelihood, and work out or not work out our differences based on the merits of the relationship alone.

The way I look at it, it’s just like insurance. I’ve never had an accident that was my fault, nor do I expect I will, but I still have car insurance. I’m young and in excellent health, but I still have health and life insurance. I am careful about the websites I visit, keep my computer patched, and scan for viruses, but I still back up my data.

But it’s actually a better deal than insurance or backups, because insurance has regular premiums and backing up costs time and hardware, but the cost of a prenup is very low and it’s one time. It’s easy to let those hormones overwhelm your sense, but I don’t think anyone can be sure enough about how they’re going to feel in 5, 10, or 20 years, that a few hundred bucks isn’t a good investment.

So either way, unless you’re both on roughly equal footing in terms of current and projected financial standings entering the marriage, it just makes sense. And even in cases where you are on roughly equal terms, it might still make sense even if it’s just to remove the potential for finances being a motivation.

And, FTR, when I was previously engaged, my fiancée had some non-insignificant debt (IIRC, around $30-40k), whereas I had none and some significant savings, and she was actually the one that brought up a prenup so that I wouldn’t get burdened with it if things didn’t work out. I’m not sure if it actually works that way, but we broke up before it came to that, so it doesn’t really matter.

Either way, on that note, my suggestion would be, rather than expecting the wealthy person to suggest it, making it look like they might value money more than the relationship, it could instead be a gesture of love from the one who could stand to gain financially from a divorce to suggest it, as that distinctly implies that they love that person more than money.

The main problem I have with prenups is they seem to fundamentally be efforts to get around what the law has decided to be a reasonable distribution on divorce.


I’m practical, and even though I don’t think my relationship will ever implode, I’d rather we get this all settled while we both still have each other’s best interest at heart. So, I chose: “I would but only if I don’t walk away empty handed- I’m still getting SOMETHING.”

Not that I want more than what I’m entitled to, but I want to make sure that if I sign a prenup, the terms are equitable for both of us. His family runs a business and have some properties and I wouldn’t have a problem signing a prenup that protects his family’s interests just as long as my family’s (much smaller) properties are also excluded.

As far as our careers go, he’ll always earn at least twice what I will based on our projected career paths. However, since I’ll be the one to take a hit on my career when we eventually have kids not to mention all the intangible career and household support that I’ll be giving him, I do expect the prenup to lay out a simple 50/50 divide excluding all extended family assets.

All that said, I guess I do consider marriage to be somewhat of a business transaction. I’ve been in a relationship for 8 years now and the only reason we would get married is if we had children or some significant tax breaks. Being married will be the same thing for us relationship-wise, just with some paperwork shuffling. We don’t love each other less because we’re not married and we won’t love each other more when we are married, so if marriage will merely be a government and business procedure, then why not a prenup?

That’s a little unfair. The law recognizes the rights of free individuals to contract round certain things. Just like there is law that governs the division of your estate if you die without a will, that doesn’t mean that making a will to split the property up is in some way an effort to get around what the law has decided to be a reasonable distribution on death.

Divorce laws are there for when you cannot agree. My ex and I did not have a pre-nup, but did not use divorce law to divide our property. All a pre-nup does is says that two independent, intelligent individuals have determined in advance the allocation they will use if and when they divorce.

And, of course, if it is unconscionable, then a court will strike it as unenforceable.