Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

To Prenup or not to prenup

Prenups are very controversial subject mattter.  They provoke a lot of anxiety, resentments and disputes. They make lawyers happy though. The more documents the better. What should be a decision between two people becomes a profitable tool.

I dislike prenups and what they mean. They mean you really don’t trust the person you are getting married to and that you need to protect yourself against him or her. Couples who have joint finances have less conflict about money. They have a sense of partnership. They have a sense of “we are in this together”. To those couples who keep everything separate I ask: why bother getting married?

Prenups are acceptable when one person has considerable wealth before the marriage. Nowadays though, States preserve that as individual property in case of divorce. Judges rarely allow one spouse to take assets accumulated before the marriage in case of divorce. Prenups that keep finances separate DURING marriage are essentially against the very spirit of marriage: partnership. The sense of growing together, sharing and having common goals can only be obtained when couples save and invest their money together. Marriage is about helping each other in good times or bad times.

When one has a lot more money than the other, there is a gap between the couple. The richer one tries to control the relationship. Some women don’t work when the kids are young but they are working for the family; her contribution is raising these kids and keeping the domestic engine running.

Some women don’t work to help their husband’s career (especially true in political careers). They should feel they are protected in those cases. Nonetheless, most women do have jobs and contribute to the household. Many earn more than their husbands. Many men who resent so much dividing their marital property forget that. Women work too! And still take care of the house!

Some couples have a deal: he will work so she can get a better degree than she will work so he can get a better degree. Many immigrants in America do that. That gives them a sense of family, something which is lacking in more selfish marriage arrangements.

Some young couples are jumping on the prenup bandwagon. What are they protecting, their stamp collection from when they were 12? From experience, I have been in a marriage where everything was shared and money went to one pot, and a marriage where everything is separated.  My experience is that the first type of marriage is a lot more harmonious when it comes to money, which transpires into other areas as well.

I recently heard a story that got me peeved: a woman in her 30’s had just had her first baby. Her husband, brainwashed by the “ME ME ME” generation, wanted finances to be completely separate. She pays some of the bills while he pays some of the others (he makes a lot more). She came home from the hospital and was shivering. Her mother than raised the temperature in the house. When the husband came home, he complained it was too warm. The mother explained why, and the husband said: “it’s easy for her, she’s not the one paying the bill”! It turns out he was the one who paid the power bill. For chrissakes, she just had his baby! I feel the mentality has changed from  my generation about what marriage is and should be.

This mine and yours thing may be ok for many people, but it is just not part of how I was brought up. In the past, I have supported a husband for periods where he was unemployed, and I never, ever complained. It was my duty to help him. Additionally, when an aunt died and left me 9 thousand dollars, at no moment I thought: “This is my money and I will keep it apart or spend it on myself”. Instead, I used the money towards our apartment. In my mind, it belonged to both of us. Similarly, when my then husband got a 8k bonus from his company, the first thing he said was: “What do you want?”. I told him what I wanted, and he also bought himself something nice and with the rest of the money we took the kids to Disneyworld!

Have you looked at your neighborhood bar? You see dozens of 50+ men hanging out night after night. Most are divorced and bitter. I call them the grumpy old men. They all feel they were slighted by their wives financially (when one way or the other, they knew they had to share with her his and her accumulated assets during marriage), and are unable to trust a woman again. Thus, few women want to date them (besides them being old and sometimes ugly :)). And the women who do eventually leave when they see his fear of commitment.  So year after year, these men are hanging out in bars, hanging on to their bitterness about marriage.

No wonder they say widows are the best men to date for older women, because they did not go through the nastiness of divorce.  They liked being married, and they want that again.

When couples have joint finances during their marriage (which means they will split what they made together during that period in case of divorce), they have more common goals and aspirations and a bigger desire to help each other. I once read that couples that have prenups divorce more. I need to find that statistic.

Finally, if a prenup is necessary, it should be a document that BOTH want. If one person wants it but the other does not, it will always be a dagger standing between them. Prenups that keep previous assets separate are ok on my view, but prenups that separate earnings DURING a marriage destroy the very essence of marriage. To these people I say: Why bother getting married?

http://www.pioneer.net/~mchumor/relationship_prenup_toons.html
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October 29, 2008 - Posted by | Relationships, Society

2 Comments »

  1. Wow. Thanks for your post! I’m a 25 year-old single male who’s very torn about the prenup thing. My parents are married for 35 years now and they also find the whole prenup thing contrary to the experience of marriage.

    I, on the other hand, unfortunately keep bumping into all the bitter divorced guys (at work, bars, gym, etc….) who say how lucky I am to be single. They give me cynical and pessimistic advice like “just keep dating forever”…”never marry a woman less than 10 years younger than you, ever”…”women use marriage as a trap”….”don’t marry before 40″….”marry a woman who already has kids so you don’t have to have any more kids with her”…”stay engaged to her for like 8+ years first then get married”….etc I’ve almost heard it all.

    Again thanks. Your post is refreshing and appears genuine. I find your Weblog to be very informative and insightful even though I have no connection to Brazil . I will definitely read your other posts. Cheers.

    Comment by Muta | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. My pleasure. I too, am shocked at how young men in America distrust women. Not every woman is a golddigger, as not every man is a jerk (like some bitter anti-men women think). The battle of the sexes has gotten ugly. I am speaking from experience.

    Comment by Grace Farrell | November 4, 2008 | Reply


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