#DontBeJan – Get your Prenup!

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Failed celebrity marriages bring about the first conversation of who gets what, how much, etc.  The only thing that makes gossip mags more money than a cute coupling is when it fails!  After seeing people fail at love, no matter who they are, you want the best for them.  And every now and then, when a celebrity you actually care about goes through a divorce, or gets engaged, it feels somewhat personal because you’re invested in seeing them happy.

 

We had the conversation about prenuptial agreements in the airbnb the other day.  I found myself as the only person who would sign one and thought it was important.  #ThisIsWhyImSingle  LOL.  What started it was Mary J. Blige and her divorce.  Like why does this woman who has worked damn near 30 years have to provide $130k per month in spousal support to an ex that she has no children with is beyond me.  Do you know how many companies I could start with $100k per month?
Or the more serious question, what are you eating that your monthly expenses are $130k per month and you’re not on the cover of Men’s Fitness? :-p

One of the girls I was speaking with said that her husband sacrificed his career for her (not true).  Her soon to be ex-husband was her business manager.  If Mary was his only client, he should have known to take on more business before sleeping around (is this true?) or in general, I don’t think Mary’s doing concerts every day, so where is his extra time being spent where he could procure additional clients? Either way, in my book, if he feels entitled to anything after cheating, he’s lucky I’m not the Judge overseeing the divorce, because he wouldn’t get a dime, he’d owe Mary a refund for the drama.  Still, she don’t need No Drama…  Unfortunately I’d be the first judge in history to make a man strip out of his clothes in court (he doesn’t own them).

 

Again, I should not be commenting on other people’s relationship, especially when it is their relationship.  But I can tell you my top 5 reasons why a pre-nuptial agreement is important even when you’re not a celebrity and don’t have millions to protect.

 

A prenuptial agreement commonly states how you will divide the assets, debt, care for the children, etc. in the event of a divorce.  While the girls stated that a marriage is supposed to be until death do you part and this is why if a guy asks them to sign a prenup going in, they would see it as a red flag; I’m here to tell you that if you don’t sign one, you’re not thinking about the person you love or yourself.  I’m challenging you to see prenups as the opportunity to make one of the potentially worst life events as smooth as possible in the event life changes happen.  A prenup is not a way out of a marriage before it starts, it’s protecting the one you love in the event you no longer can provide, care or love each other.

 

Life happens.  While marriage is the serious challenge to grow together and weather both life’s storms and beachy days, life happens. Two humans are getting married and to err…  :-)  So here are my top 5 reasons in favor of signing a prenuptial agreement.

 

V. When you are in love is the time to make decisions like this.

When you love someone, the last thing you want to do is hurt them.  If you’re truly in it for them, then the money won’t matter to the extent of getting half in many cases.  To put it straight, Marriage is not a lottery ticket.  If you built everything together from ground zero, it’s the only time half truly makes sense.  You can’t sign up for a lifelong commitment and divorce after 5 years and expect to walk away with half.  When you love someone, you wouldn’t do that to them, only when you don’t love them do you seek to hurt them financially.  We see this all the time when couples use the children as collateral, bait, or ransom.  Make things clear prior to going in because…

 

IV.  Prenups aren’t always just about money.

They are about managing your expectations throughout your marriage.  Sitting down to think about what goes into your prenup ties back into your values and expectations in regards to spending money.  When you divorce, it’s many times taking on debt, credit, and other issues you may not have had going in.  Imagine getting married to someone who is in $100,000 in debt with subpar credit.  Sure you have arguments about how they spend, but what happens when you divorce?  In many cases, you get half the debt!

 

III.  Again, it’s not just about the money…

There are some celebrities that have clauses in their prenups about cheating or abuse.  If we’re not in an open marriage, believe me, the stiffest penalty will be the cheating clause.  If my husband cheats on me, he’s walking out of the house wearing a paper bag and plastic bags for shoes and a list of the debts we owe and a bill for my STD exam  (#WhyImSingle). However, if I truly love him, I’d respect him enough to sign off on the same if I were the one to betray our relationship.   At the house, this delved into a deeper conversation about relationships that are 50 Shades of Grey.  I think that if you’re married, you should get it into writing so it doesn’t backfire on you at some point.  Imagine being in a relationship where your significant other asked you to spank them, then it comes up that you were abusive in a divorce filing?  If your relationship gets kinky, my advice is to draw up a contract so it doesn’t backfire on you at some point. The same advice for open marriages.  Divorces can get nasty.

II.  Life changes happen…

We know that it’s until death do you part and through sickness and health, but what happens when the sickness part creeps in?  What happens when the person you married changes into someone else?  One of the girls against the prenup in the conversation was divorced because after marriage, her husband become religious.  She does agree that if she could place severe lifestyle changes within a prenup, she would have.  And guess what, you can place that within an agreement!  She thought prenups were only about money, but they can specifically be a promise to not join a cult and force you to shave your head, wear $5 tennis shoes with a wind breaking track suit.  Another person I know didn’t know that taking care of her disabled husband would take such a toll on her sex life.  She couldn’t foresee that he would become bitter, self-loathing, verbally abusive, and angry towards her.  After 5 years of trying to make things work, they divorced.  At the time, she was 28 and he was 37.  I truly think she’s a great person because she assumed all the debt and sends him $1,200/mo to accompany his disability & social security payments.  He lives in the house they bought together and the mortgage was one of the debts she assumed.  This is something to think about when signing a prenup. I think a situation like this is something you don’t want to ever think of or prepare for, but it’s necessary.  It’s also something to discuss with your financial advisor as you can make sure you have disability insurance in place to really help combat this hurdle.

 

II.  A Prenup terms can be flexible.

Don’t think of a prenup as in, ok, I give you 7 years of my life, so I get half. Or if we have kids, I get half.  It can include whatever time or percentage or even fixed amounts.  If I were to marry someone more well off than me and I were to sacrifice my job to stay at home, I would expect a reasonable amount per year of marriage.  If I lose 5 to 10 years in the work force, to be able to regain that traction is going to be fiscally time consuming and the older you are, the harder it will be to hop back into the workforce.  Once you add kids into the equation, it also becomes hard to calculate and figure out.  But for me, if I were to get married with no children, my principal concern would be having enough money to walk away from the divorce and start my own business or live reasonably, so it would be centered around the request of a fixed amount or percentage base of salary for the number of years we make it.  If we have children, it would most likely be a similar request, but I would ensure that the children were set first.  Making sure their insurances are paid for, college education is saved for, life expenses, etc.   And of course, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!  Same on both ends.  If you’re both working, it will most likely be super easy to draw up as it will center more on the amicable settlement of debt & mutual assets, and of course the kids!  The less money you have, the more important the flexibility of your prenup becomes.  Prenups can be revisited in the form of a postnuptial agreement as well.  So this can be updated and renegotiated as often as needed.

 

I.  When you love someone, you can hurt them more than you ever know!

After all is said and done, signing a prenup means I do love you because you’ve taken the time to consider how angry or passionate you will become if things go wrong.  When a marriage fails, you’re not just picking up the pieces of a broken heart, you are also handling financial devastation. Think of it like this – I’ve thought about the stormy days and I see that you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, so I’m spelling it out for you now.  And because I love you so very much, it is not my intention of ever hurting you financially in a way you can not recover from no matter what turns life may bring us and I hope that you hold the same consideration for me. But most importantly, because I know when we have kids or retire, we will always want to take care of them first and be respectful and equitable towards each other.  

What are your thoughts on prenups?  Will you sign one now?  What will go in yours?

 

Tell us using #DontBeJan  @StretchRecipes or Chime in below!

 

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