Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: A prenuptial agreement

In 2008, Statistics Canada suggested that 38% of married couples in Canada would be divorced by their 30th wedding anniversary. With those kinds of statistics, thinking and talking about a prenuptial agreement before two people get married is both responsible and reasonable.

Personally, I am both “yah” and “nay” towards prenuptial agreements, depending on different circumstances.

Take mine for example. When Scott and I got together, we were essentially in the same boat debt/asset wise. For nearly our entire relationship, we’ve had similar annual earnings and have both contributed to the household equally. When we decided to get married, neither of us felt the need for a prenuptial agreement since we came in with the same level of stuff and everything we were building and acquiring, we were doing so equally. In our case, it seemed pretty cut and dry – a prenuptial agreement is for protecting assets that were yours before the marriage – we didn’t really have any so?!

If something happened right now and we split up, as tough as it would be to negotiate who got what, I wouldn’t begrudge ensuring that Scott got 50%. I wouldn’t feel like I had invested more and got short-changed.

However, I do think when two people get married and they are at different asset/debt and/or financial earning levels, a prenuptial agreement is a definite “yay”. For me, marriage shouldn’t grant the other person automatic inheritance of 50% of your acquisitions and earning potential if starting out, one had a lot more than the other. I mean, I am not heartless; obviously there are circumstances that warrant appropriate compensation when a couple splits and one is far better “off” than the other. For instance, when a couple agrees that a woman will be a stay-at-home-mom for a number of years etc. Prenuptial agreements can be written to any number of circumstances and can be altered and changed as the marriage and life changes.

But in the general sense, I am talking about when two people are getting married and one person has more “stuff” than the other does, then yes, I think a prenuptial agreement is reasonable and warranted. Marriage is about coming together to share life experiences, to live together, to love etc but it doesn’t give one person free rein to “take it all” with them if the marriage doesn’t survive. It’s there to enjoy while you are together but if you go your separate ways, you leave with whatever you came in with and contributed.

I think a prenupt is a great, legal way to put a couple whose livelihood may not be equal, on equal footing. It protects each from feeling resentful or vulnerable to be “taken,” financially at least.

That’s just my take on it. Honestly, if Scott and I had got together and I had the house, the car, and a $1 Million dollars in my bank account, I’d love to share it with him while we were together – to live, to enjoy it, to have fun etc. But if we went our separate ways, I wouldn’t be happy to just hand over half to him. What would entitle him to that? And vice versa.

What’s your take on prenuptial agreements?

Mama Kat Writer's Workshop

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. This week I went with prompt #1 Prenuptial Agreement…Yay or Nay? Explain.

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Comments

  1. I am really not sure. In some situations they are almost required. Lets say that you are a famous entertainer you meet someone fall in love and want to get married. Any good lawyer would have to insist that there would need to be one.

  2. This can be such a touchy topic. I’ve never had to deal with it, but I know I would want protection if I had worked really hard for a lot of assets prior to a marriage. It would be disturbing to lose those things that I had earned or acquired prior if the marriage ended.

    • Thanks for the comment – well said. I agree with you, if I had worked hard prior to the marriage and had built up quite a pile of equity, I wouldn’t want to watch half those earnings disappear “if” the marriage failed. I read another Mama Kat writer workshop post about the subject and that writer felt very strongly that when two people get married, they should do so assuming it’s forever and therefore apply no conditions, such as a prenupt. I loved her faith and her “ideology” about marriage but I am not sure how realistic it is and I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. What’s wrong with planning on for forever but being legally smart to protective yourself “just in case.” Whether a marriage succeeds or fails isn’t always entirely up to one person. A failed marriage can often be something entirely out of your control…so?!?! I think if assets are unequal, a prenupt give a person peace of mind while he/she can plan and hope to never have to use it.

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