Money Forward

This blog is about money and trying to keep my money from flying out the window.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why bother with a prenup?

Prenuptials can make a lot of sense for a lot of people. With divorce rates increasing in industrialized countries (although the US may have reached the peak in the 1970's) and the increase concerns on security, protecting yourself would be best.

On the financial side, most people do not need them. They are best for couples that have significant assetts individually to make sure that they do not lose anything that was theres before the marriage occurred. I think that all individual assetts before marriage should be the sole possession of that individual (unless they decide otherwise). After marriage, I think things should be done together. If there is an agreement that one person works and the other stays home to take care of the kids or something, then the one person's income is for the whole family. If they both work, all of their earnings and assetts that are gained after marriage are shared between them. If they file for a divorce, all assetts after the wedding should be split evenly. You should not need a prenup to decide this, although unfortunately you do.

A prenup in many ways can erode trust between two people. Why start a marriage where you're already planning for the possibility of failure?

I believe that lately prenups have lost their way. People are using them to put strict and often ridiculous policies onto their marriages. I read somewhere a few months ago about a couple in Florida that was older (50's or 60's) who decided to get a prenup before they were married. They divorced within a year because at least one of the parties did not uphold the agreement. The agreements that weren't upheld were ridiculous things like "so and so must give a back rub everyday" and "so and so must cook a healthy dinner every Tuesday night" and more ridiculous crap like that. If you need to take control of the marriage like that before you take your vows, then in my opinion, you have no right to be getting married.

For people with significant assetts and little knowledge of the person they're marrying, a prenup is a geat idea. For regular people, it's a waste of time and money.


  • At 2:44 PM, Blogger Maria said…

    I have an example of when a pre-nup actually was a good thing. My sister married a wealthy man and he had a prenup drawn up that pretty much said that if they were divorced, she wouldnt leave with anything, but my sister didnt agree with it, so she had another one drawn up. These are the terms:
    15% of his business(he's a self employed Developer)
    $5K for every year they are together up to $50,000.
    This was INCENTIVE TO STAY TOGETHER and not break up.
    I can see your point about those with no assets but I also know that in divorces, people arent thinking straight and do strange things.
    Congrats on your upcoming marriage!

  • At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Super Saver said…

    Money Forward,

    Agree with you on not having a pre-nup for most people. When both parties are doing a first marriage, the difference in assets is usually not enough to go through the effort.


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