Thursday, March 31, 2011

What would you do? About that prenup...


I watched Divorce Wars on CNBC Monday night. It was a one-hour documentary on the financial warfare behind high dollar divorces. At the end, I had to re-think what I believed about prenuptial agreements. I always thought they were cold, pessimistic tools that wealthy men used to keep their trophy wives behaving. What can I tell you? I read a lot of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins back in the day. Anyway...

One case struck me in particular. A divorced executive in his mid-fifties (Bill Lasky) met a woman. She gamed him, completely. Out of the blue, he met a woman who shared ALL his hobbies and thought he was the hottest thing in three states? C'mon son! Even he admitted he chose poorly. He. Got. Gamed.

Mr. Lasky had worked his ass off to get to the point where he was CEO of a company or two, sat on some boards, had a net worth of $50 million. He thought it would be "unromantic" to ask his new bride to sign a pre-nup and happily said "I do" without one.

Unfortunately, seven years later (when she had completely stopped faking the funk)... it all fell apart. During the seven years, they had bought property (in both names) and made numerous multi-million dollar investments. 

In an effort to be fair, he calculated that he had spent 17% of his life with the current Mrs. Lasky and he offered her 17% of his net worth at that time. She wasn't having it. She wanted half. Her attorney hired a forensic accountant and was going to call in every board member of every company Mr. Lasky ever worked at and have them review all manner of documentation. In order to avoid the drama, he broke down and offered old girl $20 million. She took it and waltzed off into the sunset.

Now I'm sorry - that ain't right. She didn't bear him any children, she didn't keep house, she didn't work alongside him. She didn't help him earn a penny of that and walks away with close to half of what he worked his whole life for? No ma'am. Old boy should've had a prenup, dipped in iron at that. 

Nowadays, incomes being what they are - they are reason enough for women to need to protect their investments as well. So I'm asking both ladies and fellas - would you have your future spouse sign a prenup? What would you do if your future spouse asked you to sign one? Ladies? Gents? Thoughts, comments, insights?

69 comments:

Brneyed1 said...

I'd sign a prenup. No biggie. I'd have my lawyer look it over first to make sure there's no funny stuff in it, but I'd sign it. I'm not marrying the money, I'm marrying the man.

And if the shoe was on the other foot I'd expect my S.O. to be just as willing to sign one.

Brneyed1 said...

I'd sign a prenup. No biggie. I'd have my lawyer look it over first to make sure there's no funny stuff in it, but I'd sign it. I'm not marrying the money, I'm marrying the man.

And if the shoe was on the other foot I'd expect my S.O. to be just as willing to sign one.

Kimistry_101 said...

Prenups are a yes.go to me. I would ask a a future spouse to sign one, and would I sign one? Of course, if I could help draft it. Yes, ma'am.

bkbisous said...

I'd probably talk about my feeling towards pre-nups before talking about wedding plans.
People tend to get bent out of shape on them, so it will be interesting to see how discussion goes today.

Devessel said...

A prenup makes good sense and both parties should be empowered to have a hand in its' construction.

Superwoman said...

as long as it's fair, i think it's fine. i don't expect to be left high and dry if divorce unfortunately does us part. by the same token, i can hardly behave as though i was a central part of you making that money (although my presence in your life probably allowed you to focus so single-mindedly on the business of making money, while i took care of home, the kids etc...) that contribution is huge, and cannot be discounted.

i witnessed this with a close friend who put her (significantly lucrative)career on hold, and concentrated on raising the kids and creating a home for the family. hubby was barely home, out making money - so in many ways, she was a single parent. comfortable, true - but raising 3 kids under the age of 9 is NO JOKE. even if you've got money. when divorce reared it's ugly head, her hubby went all 'the money's mine, the kids are yours' on her.... cretin. needless to say, a smart lawyer sorted her out, and put paid to that silly little idea of his.

misskate said...

Totally. I thought they were ridiculous in my 20s, but when a friend of mine had to raid her pension fund (she was the breadwinner) to pay off her husband in the divorce, I started rethinking. When a sorority sister who had married and divorced young got remarried after working hard and buying her own house, I asked a mutual friend if the sister had a prenup to protect her assets. The friend was appalled, but I thought it was a no-brainer. I might just be a school teacher, but I have a really good pension and I've saved a lot. To be honest, the only things I need from a man absolutely cannot be bought. I would have no problem creating a prenup with my partner to protect ourselves and each other.

Angel Blanca said...

Would I want to partake of some of the wealth-building that has taken place during our marriage? Of course. Would I expect my spouse to want to partake of some of the wealth-building that has taken place during our marriage? Of course.

Pre-nuptial agreements make sense, and I think that as long as they don't attempt to exclude anyone from any financial remuneration at all, then they should be fine and both parties should consider making this a topic of discussion prior to marriage.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I have absolutely no problem with signing a prenup, being asked to sign a prenup, or asking the future Mr. Just_A_Thought to sign one. It's a legal contract, just like a marriage license. And, since I am quite opposed to ending up broke if a future marriage ends up in divorce court, I want something besides his good will/home training/pride to prevent that man from getting what little I have.

I think most women get upset about a prenup because they think it is an unmalleable agreement. No ma'am. You have the right, nay, the obligation, to negotiate that contract just was you would any other contract. Just because someone puts a piece of paper in front of you doesn't mean you have to sign it. I told the current beau, when he brought it up, that I wasn't opposed. I also told him to get some assets to protect before he brings it up again, cuz at this point I'd have to pay him alimony lol!

CaliGirlED said...

First thought is that prenups are cold and calculating and focus on money as the priority, not love. But when you look at these situations, one can't help to think that maybe they are necessary. I stand firm on the premise that people should marry for love, and know the person they are marrying. But hey, anything can happen, people change and not always for the better. I know for myself that I would not marry just for money, but if he were to cross me the wrong way or try to throw me out like last week's trash, I may not fight fair. (I'm as sweet as pie, until I'm not.)

So with that said, I'll have to piggy back on Mr. Lasky wanting to pay the percentage of his net worth based on the percentage of life spent with his future ex-wife. Seems fair, especially with no kids involved. I also agree with a few earlier comments that WE would have to come up with something fair and equitable. So yes I would sign a prenuptial agreement, after I had it reviewed by an attorney.

Jazzy Jazz said...

Um 17 percent of 50 million still makes you a millionaire. She definitely didnt deserve 20 million, nor did she deserve half. I could see if they had been together for a long time , and he was broke when he met her . He was already rich when she met him= she doesnt deserve this settlement. And in this case I would sign a prenup.

SN : I am sick of this sense of entitlement people seem to have. Oh the marriage didnt work out - I want 50 million etc

Bigandbeautiful2644 said...

I have no problem at all with prenup agreements. I am 24, graduating with my undergraduate this year, and entering law school in 2012. With all of that said, my mother passed recently and left me a large sum of money. It is safe to say that upon completion of my education and armed with my inheritance, I will be comfortable throughout the entirety of my life; therefore, wouldn't it be prudent that I safeguard that investment? Divorce can be devestating, even more so when one party is more established than another. The idea of a man walking off with half of my inheritance is enough to make my skin crawl. I think prenups are just like condoms. Would you rather not offend the man by not asking him to strap up to ensure your protection? NO!

J. Jackson said...

My friends tell me that I'm crazy, but I already said that my future spouse is signing a pre-nup. I'll be damned if someone walks off with half of what I worked hard for.

If my future spouse asked me to sign a pre-nup, I wouldn't be angry, considering he will have to sign mine as well.

rozb said...

He wouldn't walk off nowhere. Period. The only thing I would be giving up is half an ass whipping. Half now, the other half at divorce finalization. He can opt for the whole sha-bang in the beginning, though.

rozb said...

If you look at a pre-nup agreement as any other legal document such as a will or insurance beneficiary assignment, the it doesn't seem so harsh. And a pre-nup will not necessarily stop you from having to give up anything. It is asset protection from unscrupulous folks. Why worry about it if you know you are gong to be together forever?

A pre-nuptial agreement protects both parties and can cover a wide range of situations from the normal everyday stuff like division of assets in the event of a split, to the really bizarre and unnecessary like if one partner gains more than 20 lbs. or agreeing to place specifics on cocoa distribution (several times a week, at least weekly, etc.) - stuff like that.

This sums it up right here (classic!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SniOXFhwIZ8

Lady4Real said...

I wouldn't be offended if my husband would have asked for a prenup because I don't plan on getting divorce but you never know what the future holds. I would have my lawyer and his lawyer draw up something that we could both live with if we didn't make it for the long haul, I think whatever was his when we married should be his when we part and whatever we earn together should be split 50/50, makes sense to me.

Lady4Real said...

then again being divorced and thinking of my ex-husband he didn't has ish when we met, didn't help me get ish while we were together and I'd be damned if I split anything 50/50 with him, so we would need something to show what I purchased on my own even though we were married and I get to keep it, what he purchased on his own and what we purchased together. I would need a his/her's/ours clause and the ours could be split 50/50. Yeah that sounds better. I be damned if he walks off with 1/2 of what I worked hard for before or during our marriage.

Lady4Real said...

I agree with you Jazzy. I think if we both broke going in, we understand that we are building a life together and we both deserve the fruits of our labor, but if I've been laboring before you got here you may get an apple or orange but you ain't gettin' 1/2 the orchard.

MichelleG said...

No prenup no ring.

Jazzy Jazz said...

LOL at an apple or an orange! Now Juanita Jordan- she deserved EVERY penny she got from Michael. This chick- needs to go back to gold diggers r- us asap

SingLikeSassy said...

I would sign a prenup (after my lawyers looked it over carefully, don't come to me the night before the wedding and slap this on me though cause that's a red flag to me) AND I would ask for one. Better to do it at the beginning when you are both friendly, in love and prone to be generous, than to piss away money fighting over it at the end when everybody's mad and upset. It's business. Let's not forget that marriage is both an emotional connection and a legal one. *kanye shrug*

GrownAzzMan said...

First of all I am divorced. Twice. Not throwing shade on the romance and all but modern marriage is a business merger.I would sign and I would ask her to sign.

Bethany Showell said...

I wouldn't have an issue with a pre-nup at all. I think it's smart when there's money involved. Although I can't imagine a real life situation for me where I would need one. I just know regular folks with regular jobs. And half of broke is still broke.

Michele said...

I'd happily sign a prenup and my future spouse will be expected to do the same.

DesertBlack said...

1. Great topic Chele.

2. EVERYBODY needs a prenup ... we must always protect our assets.
3. Anythimg built together should be split fairly.
4. 2nd or 3rd marriages NEED A PRENUP.Both parties need to protect assets.
5. After a certain point in life there is just not enough time or energy to recoup your assets.
6. There many reasons to get married ... love is one and so is money/status ... etc ...
7. In the words of Chris Rock ... if you have 50 million and loose 20 million you are pissed but you can still live ... if you have 50k and loose half ... sombody may just snap.
8. I will sign one and expect my SO to do the same.
9. If you want a certain lifestyle get it yourself (earn it)
10.If we sign then ... money may not be the reason why we are together. :)Could it be love?

Alvin Milton said...

I would sign a prenup and or ask her to sign a prenup. Marrying for deferred financial gain, is just not the business. But folks have been doing it forever. I have been reading up on history of power, wealth & warfare etc and it seems that marriage was a strategic tool used to form alliances between clans and increase wealth in many ways. A lot of times it was not for love with a good amount of marriages being arranged. And most cases, the woman was a bartering piece, considered part of her husbands property. Looking at it through that scope coupled with how fickle folks are nowadays, I can see how the whole thing just kind of got perverted with regard to financial gain over time. What can ya do? *off my streetcorner milkcrate*

JaymeC said...

Mr. Carter and I actually signed a post-nup on our tenth anniversary. Neither of us plans to go anywhere but I've seen too many marriages where "at a certain age" one partner or the other flipped out and emotional and financial ruin followed.

thinklikeRiley said...

Mrs. Riley gotta sign the papers. I ain't hatin' - Imma sign one too. It's a love thing but it's bidness.

Steve said...

Gotta admit, at first I thought - why would I sign one. But all's fair, right? Marriage is a covenant AND a contract.

Jamie Wesley said...

Would my feelings be hurt if my SO asked me to sign a prenup? Yes, because I know my moral code and marrying someone for money isn't in it.

Would I sign it? Yes, because if I'm marrying you, it's because I expect to spend the rest of my life with you and don't think the prenup will be an issue. However, I also know that there's no way to predict the future. He may decide 5, 10, 15 years down the line to lose his mind and I'll be happy to have that piece of paper protecting me.

Dr. Peppa said...

Handle the finance so you can focus on the romance
#teamprenup

tiffanyinhouston said...

We didn't do a prenup, but he wanted to do a postnup, I wouldn't be offended. If he nuts up, I'm not moving out of my house..he'd be the one to have to go.

David Chase said...

I'm in it to win it but I'm practical. I don't get into a car expecting an accident but I wouldn't drive without insurance. Like Chris Rock said, insurance is "in case ish happens" - same deal with pre-nuptial. Just in case ish...

Pure Choco said...

I don't know- being asked to sign a prenup feels like he's telling me it's not going to last before we get started

Andrea M said...

Chele - what about you? I was wondering about authors. If you get married and then divorced, would you have to pay someone half of your future royalties? That would suck!

dasmokingace said...

I hate to say this but as many people that would sign a pre-nup means you were gamed from the get-go and you don't trust your spouse. I wouldn't sign one and I believe he did not sign one because of the fact marriage is what you make it and trust is a part of marriage. Using it as business merger is not a value of what marriage is all about. If you wanted a business merger, you should get a friend with benefits. The reason is that he/she can come and he/she can go as she pleases.

OneChele said...

I'm not trying to get TerryMcMillan'ed I'm team pre-nup

OneChele said...

I'm not trying to get TerryMcMillan'ed I'm team pre-nup

Grace said...

I don't like the idea of a prenup but I get the necessity. Money does strange things to people.

Rob said...

Both Amy and I broke as hell but we're doing one. Pre-nup and living will - we'll put them both in the safety deposit box and laugh over them in 50 years.

MichelleG said...

You have it backwards. Just living together has messed up plenty of people because without that piece of paper they had no protection or legal rights. No matter what values you personally place on marriage it IS a business transaction with legal ramifications.

Why do you think same sex partners fight for the same protection that this legal status offers? You can have the no prenup menality if you are 18 marrying your HS sweetheart and you both enter the union with nothing but love. However as a grown woman with my own inheritance I expect to marry a man with his own and have no expectations or claims on what he had before we got together. If my granddaddy (RIP) never blessed his eyes on the potential future Mr. then he shouldn't even flinch about signing off on the prenup. What we build together is OURS what my granddady gave me is mine to share as I wish & if you intend to be with me forever then there is no issue. Act the fool and you'll depart as you came. No harm no foul.

rozb said...

Terry also didn't check the signs. If she had, perhaps she would not have hooked up with a man that wore lip gloss and got his eyebrows manicured to look like Elizabeth Taylor's. I'm just sayin'...

Lady4Real said...

"half of broke is still broke" *dead*

Javalicious said...

My mom and dad split when I was young. Then my mom inherited some money, did some investing and we were moving on up. She meets dude, dude says all the right shiggity. Next thing you know he's step-dude. She realizes he ain't about shiggity, puts him out. He calls lawyer, lawyer says welcome to a community property state, he gets half. 14 months of marriage and he gets half? He ended up getting a third. But he should've got a kick in the ass and a thank you for playing consolation slap on his way out the door.

#teamprenup

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

If he doesn't ask me to sign a prenup, I'm asking him. It's practical for both parties.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

Even I was suspicious the very first time I saw a photo of him, and this was long before the split. I guess when you're [thisclose] to a situation, it's hard to be objective.

The_A said...

"I also told him to get some assets to protect before he brings it up again"

wooooow! LOL

The_A said...

Theoretically, I'm TEAM Prenup because it makes practical financial sense particularly for the LESS affluent. Yes, 20M from 50M is a sad painful tale. Now take 20K from 50K - well that's a real game changer!

I wonder how many people would rethink marriage entirely if their investments were as vulnerable to attack as their heart in a divorce.

Questions for the court:

So what about marrying someone with creditors/debts? Can a prenup protect your assets from their bills? I'm not talking bad gambling debts or living above their means. More like the type of s*** happens stuff like someone who is divorced. Can a prenup protect your nestegg from the ex going after your assets for more alimony or child support?

I've heard scary campfire stories about these situations...

Tonda Williams said...

I am and have always been a believer in Prenuptial agreements. I hold fast to the belief that agreements can protect your assets (pun intended) AND your relationship. I think the reason I've never been opposed to prenups is because I'm NEVER going to marry someone I can't stand to wake up to, even when I'm angry. I would NOT get married without an iron clad prenup... #justsayin

Nate_Wesley said...

If you believe in buying insurance, what sort of opposition or offense could you take toward a prenup?

Annette Evans said...

In this day and age, everybody needs a pre-nup. And don't let your SO talk you into letting their lawyer "just draw it up and then we'll just sign it, so we can get this out of the way". Have your own counsel look it over first. People's circumstances change every day, and you can love someone to death, but if it goes bad, your assets need to be protected. We live in a world where everyone has their own (or should); you have to look out for what's yours. That does not mean you love them any less. It can seem cold, but it will much colder if you get taken to the cleaners.

Annette Evans said...

Ahh...but marriage is a business merger in a sense. Only within the last few hundred years have people married for love. Most people were put together with someone who was a "good match". Finance was always a big part of what people looked for in a marriage partner, and I think it still holds true today. Nobody sets out to get with someone who is without means. The "value of marriage" includes many factors, and of course money is a large part of any relationship, whether business or personal. Yes, marriage is what you make of it, but it is also true one of the main things married people fight about is money. I just want to make sure that if it does not work out, I get to leave with what I brought in. I work hard for mine, and I sure don't want to see you spending it on someone else.

blackprofessor said...

Team prenup! I got a house and investment portfolio, so I have to "protect" myself.

IMO, the anti-prenup mentality is naive because divorce seems to bring out the absolute WORST in people and that makes them fight dirty during the proceedings. It may not be their character per say, but to do harm out of spite is their goal. As much as you may love your future spouse, you can't predict what they may do should circumstances change and the marriage sours so it is best to always be protected.

Earthangel172 said...

Well said!

mojitochica said...

Prenups are for people that have assets worth significant amounts of money i.e. multiple houses, sizable investment portfolio, etc. If both people are broke, it's not necessary. Don't bother if you only have a car to your name. Cars depreciate in value. If one person is broke and the other isn't broke but has say owns a house, consider one. If one person is broke and the other is a high roller, definitely get one.

We didn't do a prenup when we got married because even though we weren't broke we didn't have any significant assets either. However if I were to get married again I would definitely get a prenup, since my situation has changed over the years.

mojitochica said...

Don't marry someone with creditors/debts. Make them pay off those debts before you get married. Spousal responsibility for one spouse's debt varies from state to state, so I don't think a prenup would stop creditors from seizing assets if it came down to it. Prenups can protect your nest egg if your lawyer writes it up as such.

The_A said...

again

"I'm not talking bad gambling debts or living above their means. More like the type of s*** happens stuff like someone who is divorced"

If you owe a monthly amount to your ex, I consider that a debt that never goes away. There is no paying that off. I hope you are not suggesting that people should not marry someone with a child support or alimony payment

Brneyed1 said...

Debt and Marriage: When Do I Owe My Spouse's Debts?
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/debt-marriage-owe-spouse-debts-29572.html

#teamprenup

Diggame said...

If I had a nice amount of funds and the women wasn't with me before the money I would have ro get a pre-nup. Just to protect my future. I have to reward the chick who rode with me from the beginning

mojitochica said...

I read what you wrote. I still maintain you shouldn't marry people with debt regardless of the reason for the debt. When you get married you are responsible for your spouse's debt in most states. I don't recommend voluntarily signing up for someone else's debt.

Alimony and child support are not debt; they are legal judgments against you. If you don't pay you could go to jail. With debt you can get it discharged via bankruptcy, with the exception of student loans which can never be discharged. I don't think defaulting on a student loan will land you in jail, but blowing off other debt will just lead to being harassed by creditors and have a crappy credit score.

Now marrying someone that's on the hook for child support or alimony is up for debate depending on the age of those involved.

GammasWorld said...

As we're prone to say down here in these Southern parts, I "ain't got a pot to pee in" (this, too, shall pass) so it doesn't bother me in the least. Seriously, my house is in my name and I can't see changing that for a future Mr. Gamma. All the same, because I have a daughter and granddaughter, what little piece of this earth I have, I'd like them to have. It's not a fancy house by any stretch of the imagination but at the rate I'm going, I'm pretty sure I'll have it paid off before I get married again so no you ain't getting 1/2 of it after this 15-year mortgage has whupped my butt. I would have no problem whatsoever signing a pre-nup. Mr. Gamma is gonna sign one too though cuz when I get my own business I don't want no shiggity when he gets to saying "you actin all Bougie now".

CaliGirlED said...

Not to mention your mother coming back to snatch a knot in your degreed and educated ass! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

LMAO!!! Where did your mama and daddy find you?!! Better yet, what drugs were they BOTH on when they conceived you!

CaliGirlED said...

I love it!!!

CorettaJG said...

I would not have been open to the idea of a prenup at the time I married at 24, even though it could have made sense since it was his second marriage and he had children. However, even though lots of feelings were hurt and buttons pressed by the end of the marriage, we managed to go our separate ways without going after what we didn't deserve from the businesses and property we grew while married. So, we at least possessed the core values (in that respect) that I thought we did. Most people are able to get a "fair" deal without a prenup, but there are situations where it makes sense. I would feel some kind of way about it, but I understand it, and since I'm growing a business, I might consider it.

AndreaPlaid said...

The same thing happened to Paul McCartney, too, if my memory serves me right. People were shocked when Heather Mills was able to get as much as she did from the divorce...come to find out Paul and Heather didn't sign a pre-nup.o_O

J. Jackson said...

Roz, I love you! Can you be my e-auntie! LOL (=:

Hidi said...

Would you have your future spouse sign a prenup? Yes, I would have my future spouse sign a prenup and I hope he would have one for me to sign too.

What would you do if your future spouse asked you to sign one? I will have my lawyer review it so I fully understand what is in the agreement.

You know what I totally understand people's initial reaction to the prenup question. I would not marry a man for his money; I have my own at the same time I understand the necessity (even though it is not mandatory). A prenuptial agreement is really saying " by signing this I am not going to take your assets, which you earned and/or inherited BEFORE marrying me if we were to divorce". I think it is unfair for one spouse to take the other spouse's assets, which he/she had prior to marriage. Also, I believe whatever was earned together in the marriage should be split 50/50. :)

Natasha Hunter said...

My (late as hell) thoughs exactly. :)

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