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Opinions wanted (prenuptial agreement)

(185 Posts)
Yougotbale Wed 18-Sep-13 16:51:59

Hi, I'm a lurker but wanted to get some views and advise on my situation.
I am 34 and have been fortunate enough to have been financially successful. I am currently retired but may get involved in businesses in the future.
I have been in a relationship with my DP for 4 years. We have lived together for 3 years. She really values marriage and I would be happy to fulfill her dream by asking her to marry. However, I have mentioned that I would like a prenuptial agreement to safeguard my previous earnings and assets. (I've not turned to legal advise so might be overreacting about what is at risk, any info would be good).
At the moment my DP lives in my house. I pay all bills including car, mobile, food and holidays. She still works full time and spends her money on herself (which I like). with little expenditure, she approx saves £15-20k per year. (This is put in cold terms. I see the house as our home. Her car. We are a team).
We don't have children, and both don't want children. I got a vasectomy to take control of contraception. With this in mind, she will save a small fortune of her own.

Anyway, when I mentioned the 'prenuptial' she was very upset and offended. I can see this but think I'm not being unreasonable.
I guess, I wanted see what other people thought of prenups and of my situation?

pettybetty Fri 05-Sep-14 14:55:15


skyeskyeskye Fri 27-Sep-13 18:05:57

Excellent post there tinpotted and good to see your point of view and how you solved it. I can see it must seem hurtful to the partner and It does seem cynical but having got divorced six years after marrying, I thought for life, I would never again put myself in the position where I could lose my house and if I ever marry again I will protect my house accordingly for my DD's sake.

tinpotted Fri 27-Sep-13 17:40:36

It is an emotive subject though, and while I don't think of it, I think after the time I've spent pondering your situation it still does bother me on some level; that he wasn't so head over heels with me or didn't have trust in our relationship that it wouldn't break down. However, other people accept other things in their relationships that I wouldn't, and this one is not a deal breaker for me.

tinpotted Fri 27-Sep-13 17:31:14

I read this yesterday, and have been thinking about it since. I haven't reread so can't name them, but some of what the previous people have said make so much sense. My dh asked me to sign a prenup before getting married, (though he's nowhere near a millionaire, he had far more than me), and I had the same kneejerk reaction that your fiance is having.

It killed the romance of the engagement for a while. At first I said no problem, but then as he kept reminding me to see a lawyer (as someone said she needs to get her own legal advice) I was feeling more and more pressured, also wondering what happens in 10 years if he meets a younger model etc etc.

Anyway, I then looked at our relative situations; he owned his central london flat outright, and I was single mum of 2 little kids, and at uni. He already was taking on my kids financially as their father has never paid a bean, and me while at uni, although I was bringing in a bit with part time work.

I went and saw a lawyer (which he paid for) and the lawyer advised me not to sign one, but also had a look at our draft agreement and suggested wording changes because the initial one said I could never claim anything. I came back from the lawyer and told my dh the lawyer thought I'd be mad to sign it as we were thinking of emigrating and my kids and I would have no protection at all.

After discussion (and tears) we negotiated and it came out that the main thing that he wanted ringfenced and protected was his flat, and his pension for the years before we met, and he realised that I felt insecure because of my lack of savings, and that I would feel like the second class partner.

Once he acknowledged how I felt, and assured me that while we are together everything would be shared and I would have as much right over earned money as he did, and that we would set up a savings plan to make me feel more secure, I realised that that was pretty well fair enough and I felt much better about it. I signed one that we worded together. Anything built up while we;re married gets shared.

I've hardly even thought about it since then until reading this over 2 years later (and we've emigrated). If we ever get divorced I don't think I will regret this, as I don't want more kids and want to find a good, rewarding job. I will get a share of his pension for the years we are together. We have got a savings plan which builds up every month, and I'll get half of that.

He is not stingy with money at all, and I can spend from the joint account where his salary goes without restriction and I do, not just on household stuff, but on fun, discretionary stuff. He sold the flat to buy a house where we now live, and the remainder (I think around 3 or 400K is in a savings account which I vaguely know of but don't know the details of. He did tell me, and all his documents are available in his study for me to look at if I want, (we don't have a safe) but I don't and I've already forgotten because I didn't take much notice as I don't think of that money as mine.

His will leaves everything to me or the kids of I die first, and I know if I die first my kids will be taken care of.

Anyway, this has been a bit rambling and I've been remembering bits as I go along as the details were at first fuzzy, but what I am thinking is that you are not wrong to want to protect what you have earned prior to meeting her. I think you just have to talk very honestly, and also it is very important that she knows that she will be an equal partner in the marriage and can make financial decisions that affect both of you (just not with your prev. cash). It sounds like you're already doing this. Maybe you can show her this post, as I know how she feels and came round to feeling that it was fair.

At the end of the day, I love my dh and I trust he loves me too. But so did the majority of people who got divorced, yet people are always surprised at settlements awarded to ex partners who contributed substantially less (obviously, childcare has a financial value). It happens, and I'm happy that I won't get any MORE than I'm entitled to, as all I would want is a fair settlement. Half of what we build up together is fair. As this is our first year abroad, we are spending every penny of his salary, but when I am able to work (in a few months when permit comes thru) this should improve.

I've tried imagining if he has an affair or he requests a divorce for no good reason, and firstly I can't really see it happening, as I trust in our relationship, but secondly, even if he did, I can't see my subsequent rage being satisfied by getting his flat money, or his pension, and having him hate me for that. I've always been the type of person to just not demand anything once relations have broken down (ex friends / partners etc) as I don't want them to think I need them in any way. I have proved I'm not a gold digger and that I trust him, and he has so far proved to me that he's not possessive about money and trusts me.

Anyway, good luck and I hope it all works out for both of you.

msrisotto Sun 22-Sep-13 19:04:18

andtheband don't talk rubbish, marriage is and always was a civil, not religious institution.

LittleMissMarker Sun 22-Sep-13 11:20:58

I think you are right to want to talk about this before marriage but in a way you’ve jumped the gun. You’ve done a stereotypically male thing that upsets us girlies smile, which is, you’ve jumped to a solution – the pre-nup - before you’ve talked through the problem. OK, you are worried about your savings from the past, but what are you afraid will happen? What do you think is happening now?

It’s possible that your partner has some expectations as part of her “dream” of marriage that she hasn’t yet told you about? Maybe she hasn’t really admitted them to herself yet – maybe she wants to focus less on her career and more on home-making with you? Don’t just assume, make sure you’ve talked about how she sees herself living in 10 years’ time.

Or maybe she would prefer that instead of having separate assets, you pool your assets, both the savings that she is building up over time, and yours from before the marriage? Maybe that's how she sees a "real" marriage. And after all, if you are retired it sounds as if you don’t have much income right now, whereas she does? If you’ve presented the pre-nup to her only as safeguarding your income and existing assets, and not as equally safeguarding her income and the assets that she is building up for herself during the marriage, then that would sound not just unromantic, but unfair.

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 20:32:05

andtheband so which religion should I chose? Or doesn't it matter as long as it is governed by a higher power?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 20-Sep-13 19:50:34

Xpost Apocalypto .....and I just posted naturally

FairPhyllis very well put.

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 19:50:06

*dont know......I can't type

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 19:49:31

*Don't no

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 19:48:23

andtheband I here you but which religion should I choose then. They can't all have it right? I don't which god I should let govern my life and therefore my potential marriage

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 20-Sep-13 19:43:33

Marrige is a religous covenant. Presuming to change the covenant to suit one's self (trying to avoid saying "you", just generally speaking) is putting yourself on an equal level with the higher authority that sponsored the original covenant. That is a point about pre-nups that I, imho, find offensive. However, society seems to easily accept the omission dynamic of striking "obey"...which the church seems ok with (just based on my experience). But that is comparing apples and oranges, perhaps.

Perhaps a civil union may answer the point where contracts are signed (I'm guessing you would not be comfortable giving her your Power of Attorney/Medical Directive?), or a commitment ceremony (a la SugarBear and June on HoneyBooBoo?)

Also, there may be a presumption that a pre-nup means the other party will get zilch, or be hard done by. Perhaps spelling out a very generous flatrate payment would set your balance sheet at ease, instead of operating in the realm of percentages.

At the end of the day though, imho, I agree with the other posters who feel it may be best to not get married. You seem to have great apprehension on this subject. That is your gut feeling talking, so listen to it. I do not respect the idea of trying to get around this gut feeling by legislating laws of your particular marriage. But as others have said, it is your girlfriend's opinion that matters, and she might decide to settle for what you will condescend to allow.

34DD Fri 20-Sep-13 18:56:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FairPhyllis Fri 20-Sep-13 18:51:55

I think there's a power disparity going on here, and that that's what's upsetting your partner. I'd be upset by a request for a prenup if my partner were significantly wealthier than me, because it would feel as if he were using his greater financial power to dictate the terms of my marriage to me - ie I'll keep you in style and give you access to my money as long you are compliant. I'd find it impossible to feel an equal in a marriage where my home and the assets of our shared life were clearly only 'on loan' to me. You do also seem to be keeping score of how much she owes you already - that would be enough in itself to make me concerned about your approach to finances.

Have you run through all the scenarios? What if she became seriously ill/disabled during the marriage and you then divorced. Would there be provision for her long term care, or would it be tough shit for her? What if you ran up huge debt during the marriage? Why should your assets be protected from this? - she would be equally responsible for your debts. And you are helping her to buy a house. In the event of divorce, would you ask for the share you put in back?

I think that perhaps you should seriously consider that you might not actually be on the same page about what you think marriage is. You seem to see it as a nice gesture you can do for her (and that perhaps she should be grateful for?). She may see it as significantly more than that and may see your attitudes to money as a flag of something that is potentially relationship breaking.

Apocalypto Fri 20-Sep-13 18:45:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Apocalypto Fri 20-Sep-13 18:44:01

The vows you talk about, 'for richer for poorer', refer to whilst being together. There are no vows describing what should happen if the marriage breaks down.

If that's your understanding of marriage vows then you haven't understood them.

If you think - as many do - that you can welsh on your vows at any time, then those are not vows, they are a rolling contract. The tragedy arises when one partner thinks they're vows and the other doesn't, eg wants to fuck around outside the marriage but thinks s/he can still stay married.

The problem when it goes tits up is that the bad stuff such as the lifelong financial commitments persist, whereas the good stuff such as sex and free childcare, do not. Ask yourself why you want to be in a contract with someone who may understand it differently to you but who gets the good stuff indefinitely.

boardingschoolbaby Fri 20-Sep-13 18:19:38

But surely the whole situation is pointless as a pre nup is not enforceable in uk law. You are causing upset to make a point in principle when the document itself is worthless. What do you hope to achieve with this?

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 18:07:37


Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 17:33:28

Scheduled for Monday. I'll let you know

arsenaltilidie Fri 20-Sep-13 17:32:31

Off course the OP doesn't sound confident about marriage bacause there is a 50:50 chance he will lose a considerable chunk of his assets.

It's a red flag for me that she's 'offended' by you asking for a prenup.
If she loved you she'd be more understanding of your situation.

Offred Fri 20-Sep-13 17:27:57

have you got any legal advice yet?

tbh we could all argue various dimensions about this till the cows come home, as zut implies, but it is a proper waste of time given you can't even be sure what kind of proposal you want to make to your dp about the shared future you are planning!

You've decided what is important to you.

Now you need to get legal advice.

Then you can talk to your dp about what you propose and why.

and come and update us about her response

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 17:18:34

I think that maybe partly it. It's more to with the default financial position of marriage, rather than her.

Yougotbale Fri 20-Sep-13 17:16:19

zut I didn't mean to argue. More of a comment. It was interesting though. A new angle.
This thread is definitely making me think about marriage as a concept.

msrisotto Fri 20-Sep-13 17:14:14

I'd be pissed off if I were her because you are suggesting that she is a gold digger. Just don't get married if that's the way it is.

ZutAlorsDidier Fri 20-Sep-13 17:08:05

ok yougotbale but there is no point in arguing with me because I am not the one you are trying to marry with a prenup!

Frankly I can't see why you would bother. You have plenty of money and no children to protect. If your marriage breaks up - and surely you see that as an outside chance if you are considering marriage at all - if she gets half your collective assets (and it seems this isn't the default anyway) you are hardly going to be on your arse. I would understand if you were worried about a roof over your head or your children's futures, but as you are not, I can see why she wonders why you would bother, and why you are so keen to limit the material inconvenience this relationship may cause you (and that's all it is - inconvenience - no hardship, no poverty or insecurity)

But then the difference between me and you is probably why you are rich and I am not, so don't ask me.

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