General Question

Carol's avatar

Should couples get a prenup?

Asked by Carol (731points) September 7th, 2010

If a couple is getting married, each party for the first time, no children, no property, should they get a prenup? If you think they should, what is the reason?

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25 Answers

cowboyBob64's avatar

If there is no property than no need for a prenup.

wundayatta's avatar

Seems unnecessary.

chyna's avatar

Are your salaries (if you both work) comparable? Have you discussed what each party owes, how much debt each person is bringing into the marriage? If all that is equal and no property is owned, I don’t see a reason to sign a pre-nup.

SuperMouse's avatar

It would depend on the assets each of them brings to the marriage. If one is bringing some significant assets (i.e. money) or has a crazy high paying job while the other works at Wal Mart, there might be a need. If they are pretty well equal in these areas there really isn’t a reason for a pre-nup.

filmfann's avatar

Money destroys more marriages than adultry. Don’t hedge your bet. Share it all, and commit yourself.

ftp901's avatar

I would not, even if I were a millionaire and he was a beggar. If I didn’t want him to have half my money, then I never really loved him in the first place…and I wouldn’t marry someone like that.

iamthemob's avatar

Absolutely. If you can figure out how you would want to divide potential future property when you’re happy, better than trying to do it during the divorce. But it should be drafted together. And it’s always best to include the right to amend it at a later date under certain circumstances.

If people did this early on in the relationship, you might avoid a lot of the ugly later on.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I agree with @iamthemob having gone through a divorce with someone who’d been my best friend for a decade. We had an amicable split but the stress and outside surrounding factors made even the best of friends loathe each other for a good few months to where we didn’t want to be very constructive or cooperative. Prenups anticipate future probabilities for positive things (assets) to be fairly distributed during the worst of emotional times leading to a divorce.

My bf and I each have nothing right now but some debts but our futures show promise of quite a bit and should we come to odds and divorce was the last resort then I want some protection for us both to be able to split and liquidate where we won’t be ashamed of ourselves later on.

Frenchfry's avatar

No, If one is not rich to start with why? You buy the stuff together as the marriage goes along.

funkdaddy's avatar

@iamthemob & @Neizvestnaya – how would you suggest this is brought up in the relationship? You’re in love, don’t have a lot to protect currently, and are committing your life to someone (with at least the intent of that commitment being forever)... how do you go from there to a just in case scenario?

To me, part of your commitment in marriage is to help your partner grow and that in turn helps your partnership grow. I don’t see how that can seem equitable from the start if you’ve decided everything is a 70–30 split or that the house is “yours” if anything goes wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

As many people have said, prenups are generally for people who already have some wealth before they enter into the marriage. I did not even think of one when I got married at the age of 25 and my fiancé and I basically had almost nothing to our name. If I found myself in a situation where I was going to get married at all, I would have no problem signing a prenuptial if it was fair and reasonable. Seems like that would be a good sign, my second husband (not that I am wishing for anything to happen to my first husband or marriage, spit three times, salt over the shoulder, knock wood,etc.) is rich.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Really depends on how much I’m making – it’s not off the table though I’ve never demanded one.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@funkdaddy: To me, being in love with someone and pledging my life with them means I want every advantage, every protection I can manage for them and that means considering what I’d rather not. I’ve been in love few but enough times to have learned it’s not the savior of all and sometimes people must part and move on so I want the person I spent so much time loving to be provided for and me as well. This is how I’ve brought up the subject to my SO since he’s younger than me and had only 1 serious relationship before me. He doesn’t like the idea but I feel he does understand my point of view and will consider it should we ever marry.

iamthemob's avatar

@funkdaddy – there’s no universal way to bring it up. But it’s something that should be discussed by any person with a sense of how many marriages fail. If you can’t talk about money now, you need to figure out how to…and it’s why something like this should be drafted together, and by everyone regardless of your current state. Money is the number one cause of arguments in a relationship. And each couple is different in how they communicate. This is an easy way for you all to get some practice, and to know that even if things go wrong you have some plan to fall back on, and can respect each other in the end. It’s also why you should amend it if things change…a pre-nup should be something that you come back to every few years, in the same way a will is.

Carol's avatar

So, from the replies (for the most part), I gather that people think that couples should merge finances after marriage.

What do you think?

funkdaddy's avatar

@Carol My wife and I have separate finances, we’ve basically split up bills and take care of any debt we have ourselves (student loans, credit cards, car payments), basically she spends her checks and I spend mine.

We make big financial decisions together (where to live, when to buy cars, job choices, etc) and do retirement planning and saving (currently for a home down payment) together.

Having it split was strange to me at first because my parents had always pooled their income, I just assumed that’s how it was done. Keeping it separate was what she was most comfortable with, we talked it through early, and it’s worked really well for us. The only times we’ve fought about money are when we’re just out of it and don’t have many options. If one of us has money, we both do, but we each have our own responsibilities.

For others, I think if you have different styles of money management then keeping it separate is probably the best thing. She plans her bills a full month in advance, gets paid every two weeks, knows exactly how much extra cash she has to spend, and keeps things balanced at all times. I tend to take it as it comes, my income isn’t as structured so I don’t plan as much out for day to day bills as I do longer term. It would drive her crazy if we were merge finances today.

Related to the original question, since we’ve been married we’ve each had times where we had to pull more than our fair share of the load financially. For me when she went back to school and for her when I started a business. I can’t speak for her but for me it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done for each other and our relationship. Even with our current separate finances set up, if she came to me and said we needed to work out some paperwork saying what belongs to who, who makes what amount, and who gets to take what if we split up, I’d be hurt. We’re working hard for each other and building something together, I think a prenup would very much get in the way of that if we were to try and divide things for our individual security.

It sounds great in theory to say better safe than sorry, but I think to actually apply it to a relationship, especially one that doesn’t currently have assets to protect, seems unnecessary and could really cause a lot of problems down the road. Every relationship is different, that’s just been my experience.

JLeslie's avatar

@carol, For me personally I think it has worked well to merge finances, but I got married in my 20’s and we were basically starting from scratch, building our life together. I think wealthy couples who started out with nothing probably more often than not have this set up. At least that was the feeling I got when I skimmed the book The Millionaire Mind, which is loaded with statistics many regarding the marriages of the wealthy, who they look for in a partner, and how they think about things.

There is something to having some separate money, so that if things go wrong, if one of the spouses winds up being a thief, God Forbid, at least the bad spouse cannot empty out all of the bank accounts. But, I think mentally it is nice to think of all the money as ours, to discuss saving and spending, and have common goals related to money. I know many people who disagree with me on this, I just find it odd when a friend of mine says to her spouse, “I’ll pay for that out of my money.”

Again, if one or both are wealthy coming into the marriage my answer would be different.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Another reason to consider a prenuptial agreement in writing is when there are family heirlooms that someone needs or wants to keep on their side of the family.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I would never sign one- but then I am the one that came into this marriage with nothing and he had everything. don’t know how I’d feel the other way round.

iamthemob's avatar


A pre-nup really has little to do with merging finances after marriages. The manner in which finances are handled throughout the marriage is a separate (although not independent) issue.

A pre-nup is to help allow you part ways gracefully, how you will divide property. If you don’t do one, you are at the mercy of the default laws of the state a lot of the time. If you can’t talk about these issues when you’re starting the marriage and you’re hopeful, imagine what it’s going to be like when you aren’t hopeful at all, maybe even angry, and the kids are involved.

MrDad's avatar

I consider a Prenup nothing more than a preplanned divorce. Personally if someone asked me for a Prenup, that would be the end of the relationship. I don’t go into marriage with the idea of getting divorced. Marriage is a long term prospect and will only work with full commitment to working through the differences and issues. If you have a prenup or consider a divorce any and every time you run into difficulties you are not fully commited and your chances of a successfull marriage are greatly diminished. In marriage your intent and goal should be to become one. Kind of hard to do if everything is his or hers.

Married almost 20 years and still going strong. Gets better every day.

iamthemob's avatar

If you have a prenup or consider a divorce any and every time you run into difficulties you are not fully commited and your chances of a successfull marriage are greatly diminished.

This is a little conclusory – isn’t it just as possible that you know that in ten years you might not be the same people, and living together in a healthy manner has become impossible? A pre-nup is not a pre-planned divorce by definition. However, it does show that the two parties are not so naive as to think that even though around half of all marriages end in divorce, they are definitely the ones that are going to make it.

Knowing that, it is arguably irresponsible not to get a pre-nup. These are NOT people expecting to get out of their marriage. These are people who are hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

noplacelefttohide's avatar

Prenups don’t tend to hold up in court. The best protection if you think your intended is going to rake you over the coals is to simply not get married at all. The law treats unmarried men far better than it treats married men. Not many unmarried men lose their houses when they break up.

iamthemob's avatar

@noplacelefttohide – Not all unmarried men own the houses, or buy one to support the family while the wife takes care of it. ;-)

Pre-nups do hold up in court, if there’s full disclosure, independent counsel, and a few other formalities to ensure fairness.

And that’s all the more likely in situations where the individuals start off on even economic footing.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

Prenup indeed! It’s a wise decision in business and I view marriage as a ‘contract’ .. I have assets, I own my house and stand to lose a bunch. I don’t see it as beginning with the end in mind but more like covering your ass should that arise. What’s better than a prenup is a trust. Sadly, many marriages end in divorce. I would rather not see mine end in divorce and straight up robbery.

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