When a Woman Requests a Prenup…

So I’ve spent my 20s acquiring a decent sum of savings. I’m not a millionaire (yet) but I have managed to save $350,000 – not immense wealth, but not pocket change either. I have no idea where my career will take me over the course of my life, but I admit as a person who thinks a lot about finances the idea of merging my financial future with another person – irregardless of how much I love him – terrifies me more than, say, jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Or my dress ripping apart in the middle of my wedding leaving me in my birthday suit.

When doing some preliminary prenup research on Google the links are all the same — dudes who are trying to figure out how to convince their fiancees to sign a prenup without completely destroying their relationship. I haven’t found one link (at least in the top few pages) where a woman is the one who wants the prenup. And do I really want a prenup? I don’t know. It just seems wise, especially with the 50% divorce rate, even though I don’t have any remote intention of ever getting divorced.

The reality is that my hubs-to-be is unlikely to save or earn as much as I do. He also is very adamant about us keeping separate accounts as we do today, though maybe splitting a bit more of our costs beyond just our rent (which I already pay more for) and our food (which we split 50/50.) I don’t know — I always come back to the fact that marriage is a business contract. It’s MORE a business contract than some lovey-dovey festival of forever commitment. You can commit without a marriage license. But if you plan to have kids in the near-term future then marriage does make sense. It at least provides some stability – theoretically.

I admit I’m worried about financial issues going into marriage. Luckily we both have no debt and if anyone’s got a spending habit it’s me. If anything I’m probably better off without a prenup as over time I may end up in a looney bin and should he decide not to be wed to a loon at the time, I’ll need the alimony to survive. Worst case scenario, of course, but it could happen.

Why does it feel so cringe-inducing to even bring up a prenuptial agreement? When I did, he quickly changed the subject, and I could tell he was very hurt at the suggestion. He wasn’t surprised that I asked, but he certainly wouldn’t give the request any serious consideration. And that leaves me with basically two choices — get married without a prenup, or don’t get married.

They say prenups are much more important in second marriages where kids are involved, et al, but if you have a sizable sum of money going into a marriage or expect an inheritance then they may be useful in the first. It just seems like this whole marriage thing is VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS and I’m not equipped with the necessary advice to enter into such a legal agreement. I wish the government made premarital and financial counseling a requirement before getting a marriage license, because at least then it would force us to address these issues like mature adults. But I guess that’s too much to ask in my relationship. And if I were in his shoes, I’m sure I’d feel a tinge of betrayal as well if I were asked to sign a prenup, so I can’t blame him for being so upset at my initial ask. I just wish we could have an adult conversation about it and make a rational decision — but how rational can a decision be if it’s based around the “what if we get divorced” question before we’re even married?

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2 comments

  1. Mr. A says:

    It DOES happen! I got married on 6.6.15. My wife asked for the prenuptial agreement.
    I obliged, and ended up having twice the assets she had (she didn’t know 🙂 ) but we both like the prenuptial agreement as we find it fair and don’t want each other’s money.

    I think from his perspective, he probably doesn’t want your money… however he’s probably embarrassed that you have so much more money than him and that you are considering what happens if you get divorced. It can be offensive but it’s also selfish of him to not talk about it when respecting the other person’s protection since you are coming in with so much assets that aren’t his and perspective. You are Her Every Cent Counts!
    My wife said that her dad required her to get one so that is how she phrased it without feeling shameful. I don’t know if it was true or not, but I also didn’t care as I wanted one too, ha. If I was you, I would protect yourself. Divorce happens 50% or more of the time and sometimes people just change or drift apart. Adding kids and changing lifestyle can change the dynamic. Plus, you can only control yourself and there are two of you. So even if you were the happiest person ever married and the best wife, that doesn’t guarantee you success.
    If you are willing to give up ~$175k… which could happen as soon as year 1 or anytime after. It also makes clear how to handle pre-existing assets, retirement accounts, etc.
    You should be able to talk about a pre-nuptial agreement in a serious way and at least have a successful conversation with both parties understanding each other and with respect to each other’s feelings, that would be something you guys should work towards being able to do. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s something you guys need to find a way to work on. Sometimes it’s just bad timing as it is a very lengthy and in depth conversation, so maybe ask when it would be a good time for him to really discuss it so you can understand his perspective better and if there’s a way to work around his feelings to get to your result. Understand what would allow him to consider it and make it work for him. If you can’t do that then you will have more challenges coming in life when you still can’t talk about stuff when more issues or business decision arise. House, kids, spending money, funding money, etc. It will also build up angst on that topic if you don’t resolve it.
    I don’t think getting a pre-nup is a thing that requires you to not get married. If so, then I would work on your communication and understanding of each other first.
    A pre-nup only typically covers pre-existing assets, and not future income and assets. Therefore, it’s not like you are leaving him with nothing in the future. Your sizable networth and especially the delta between your networths would suggest that you should get a prenup.

    Being able to compromise and work through things together makes you stronger together. Don’t compromise on your values and what makes you who you are.

  2. Leigh says:

    I definitely want a pre-nup when/if we get married. But in our case, it is more fair to both of us because he also has assets and good income, so it would protect both of us. We’ll see how the next few years unfold, I suppose.

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