At a recent “girls night” some friends and I were talking about relationships (surprise, surprise). Over the course of the conversation we talked about marriage then we got to talking about divorce and someone brought up the topic of prenuptual agreements. And that’s when the conversation got interesting.
My friends are a pretty diverse group. Some are married, some are divorced, some of their parents are divorced while others have been together for close to 50 years. I have a few friends who you could say play very traditional roles in their families. They’re the primary caretakers of their children, they do the cooking, the cleaning while their husbands handle more of the financials. I have a few others whose roles are a bit more contemporary. They work, their husbands work and they split responsibility for everything else. You’d think based on this that you could make some assumptions on their stances on prenups. Not so.
At one point someone asked me how I’d have felt about signing a prenup. Well, first of all, my husband and I did have a prenuptual agreement. He said the only way out of the marriage was in a pine box, and I agreed. I’m sure he was kidding. But my point is, we agreed to go into the marriage with nothing but positivity about where our lives were heading. To me, having a prenup is pretty much planning for the demise of the relationship. If you’ve read The Secret or The Power of Positive Thinking you know that a prenup would basically be saying to the Universe, “I’m betting this marriage doesn’t last.” And that’s step one down a bad path. But that’s just me.
I definitely understand the reasons why people have prenups. With such high divorce rates and lots at stake financially I can see why some would want assurances of where they’d stand should the relationship deteriorate. One friend brought up an example of a man whose ex-wife is now the proud owner of half of his business post-divorce. The reason they got divorced is the wife had at least two illicit relationships during their marriage. But because MA is a no-fault state, the reasons why you get divorced or whose fault it is have no bearing on the distribution of assets. To me, that doesn’t seem fair. Maybe a prenup would have helped in that case. The kind I have would definitely.
In my humble opinion, if a marriage ends, you should leave with whatever you had going into it. Now I know things get complicated when you start to look at things you acquired together or when you try to assess if one person would have been able to be as successful at building a business, for example, were it not for the support of the other person. They get even more complicated when you look at the sometimes ugly reasons why people split up. You could say I’m naive, but I think people know what they really deserve when their marriages fall apart. A woman who cheats probably knows in her heart she doesn’t deserve half of her husband’s assets and vice versa.
My advice for what it’s worth – if you think you need a prenup, don’t get married.
What do you think?