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Senior Contributor

Prenuptial agreement???

Wondering if any of you signed a prenup. I know I did not, but my daughter who is getting married in September is going to get her future husband to sign one. He has agreed and since she does own her own business, I think it is really a good idea. She is going to make sure if something would happen to her, all her business would go to her sister, and his family would not be able to come in and take over. I know we do not have a lot but was wondering if any of your children had or would make their future spouse sign?

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16 Replies
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Senior Contributor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

I know I would sign a prenuptial. It opens up the coversation that breaks up so many marriages--money. If both know what the other's finances are, a bad marriage can be prevented. There shouldn't be a feeling that he/she married me for the money either when a prenuptial is signed. An agrement can include penalty clauses too, such as a spouse will get some money if the other has an affair.

Depending on the agreement, your other daughter may or may not get the entire share. The state's laws may say that whatever financial gain occurs during the marriage will be given to the spouse after death or divorce. I hope that the attorney has this researched well.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

Had never heard of them in 1973, when Mike and I got married.  By the time either one of us had started to amass anything of value, the kids all had some age on them, and we were looking like we were going to stick it out together, so no one ever mentioned it. 

Our daughter who is married did not mention one, and she only owns what they have worked for together sine marrying,, mostly a home on about six acres we gave them.  We did risk that much about a year into their rmarriage, which was not a huge deal to me.   Neither of the other two is seriously commited at present, but it might come up  if they did turn in that direction. 

They do stand to inherit some decent assets now, so I would probably mention it, but it is eventually theirs to have and theirs to manage/hold onto/lose.  When they get it, we will be gone anyway,  so it is their matter to deal with, both monetarily and in their relationship. 

You can sign post-nuptial agreements, too, which a lot of folks do not realize.  BTW, you can ask a future or present spouse to sign, but you cannot "make" someone do anything.  Ideally, such agreements ought to be reciprocal, protecting the assets of each from bad choices down the line by the other. 

I think a lot of people wish they had paid more attention to things like this, after the fact.  Now, it is even more important to consider thigns like a person's FICO scores and such when you tie yoruself to them for life, I guess.  We never thought of such a thing back in the Dark Ages...but the electronic technology used to create credit card debt - instead of just local store charge accounts and their plates - really had not come of age at that point in time.    Things are so much more complex now, aren't they?  

Mike and I have provisions in our estate plans that require the survivor to create a prenup to protect the assets for our children.  That said, if I go first and he re-marries, I would expect them to honor his wife and not challenge a life right or any other reasonable provision he makes for her support.  I have always said I will not ever marry again if he precedes me in death, so it is doubtful I would have to consider it in this lifetime.   

I do not blame your daughter for her decision, especailly if her sister is involved in the business, or wants to be some day.  Even if not, it is a nice thing to do for her sibling. 

Frequent Contributor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

As much as I deplore people who shack up, I think it might be a better alternative than saying "I want to marry you but I dont trust you".  Yep, I would try to get them to shack and not defile the institution of marriage.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

Funny this came up after DH was at FSA office yesterday.  An old fella was standing there talking & telling that he never married until he was 50 and his wife divorced him at 75.  Now he is 95 and still paying on his house because of the divorce.

Guess he salvaged the farm but the house was part of the settlement.  He had it paid for once, he said.  Made me wonder what kind of husband he was that she waited til he was 75.

 

I guess pre nups are a safe thing if you have family assets but I kind of feel like John.  If I don't trust you enough to marry you without a paper then maybe we shouldn't marry at all.  Kind of starts off on a slippery banana peel.  But then we only had $200 to our name when we married at 18.  Then I had to have a C section with no insurance to cover so the $500 we had saved went to the hospital plus another $500 on the books.  Just think-$1000 for a C section & 5 days in the hospital.  That baby is 43 next month; how times have changed!!

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

Kind of hard to say "I give you my heart, my life, and my very escense of being.  But by the way, sign this so my money is protected."

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Senior Contributor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

We did not and none of our six kids did when they married.  I guess we are kind of old fashioned in that we believe you should never marry someone you don't trust.  That from two people who each went through a divorce and still came out unjaded enough to believe in each other's definition of commitment. 

 

Maybe we don't have enough to worry about losing or maybe we realized that it is all just material stuff anyhow....Having it doesn't guarantee happiness and losing it doesn't guarantee misery. 

 

I was dirt poor after my divorce and I (and my kids) agree that it was the best thing that ever happened to us.  After seeing several instances lately of people who put money before family and friends and God, I am glad I don't have an attachment to anything that would get in the way of those relationships. 

 

Now if I was a respectable hard working woman and I was marrying a low life, lazy, money hungry man I might think differently....I hope you catch my saracasm.......

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Senior Contributor

Re:Shacking up!

John; in many jurisdictions it makes no difference if you make it 'official' with a license and ceremony or just shack up. After living together for as little as a few months a partner can claim 50% of everything without an agreement otherwise.

Some times may be able to keep large estates from before marriage out of the 50% bracket but good probability some can leave with the partner even from 'shacking up'.

It is a dicey situation but if one partner has a large financial resource some kind of agreement can prevent a lot of problems in the future.

We came close with one daughter who's boyfriend was never able to keep a job but she saw the light when he thought she should sell her beloved horse, worth quite a few dollars and cash in some of her savings to buy a house they could both live in.

As I said 'she saw the light' and he saw the door. Took 5 or more years and a call to the police to stop him contacting her and the call was only 6 months ago so who knows he may turn up again.

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Advisor

Re: Prenuptial agreement???

In general I do not like the idea of a pre-nup.  if you are that worried you won't make it you should wait until you are sure ... and that includes the sharing of living space.

 

Having said that, I can see a pre-nup being a good thing in a later marriage where there are pre-existing assets that are desired to be passed on  to children.  In that case the pre-nup should also address and include the financial support and well-being of a surviving spouse.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Re:Shacking up!

I would keep a close eye on that one, since the first call is usually not enough, after that long a habit of being too insistent.  Glad she figured it out in time, and held onto her horse. 

I think that when a person has been married once for love, it will be hard for a subsequent relationship to be totally devoid of material concerns, especially if children of the first spouse are involved.  I have never thought it right for them to suffer for a second family.  

The way some inheritance laws are written, a person can pass away and leave it all to the second spouse, and their children essentially get nothing.  That isn't right, and that is what we wrote our plans to avoid. 

Probably the best time to get things straight is up front.  A pre-nup is not necessarily a one-way street.  Both parties can end up with protections by exercising one.  If the material is not involved in the bond, then you have a better inkling that you are not being approached for monetary benefit.   If I did ask a man for one, and he refused, I think I might feel suspicious about his motives.