Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yours, Mines, and Ours

Deebo: Oh, *that* bike. Didn't know you wanted it back, homie. It's right here. Follow me, homie.

Red: Yeah, it's just like it's both of ours... we just keep it down at my house. .
- Deebo and Red - "Friday"

Recently, an acquaintance of mines and I were discussing their more than likely upcoming nuptials. They have been dating this person for awhile and the direction of their relationship is headed towards marriage. The converversation shifted to discuss whether or not a prenuptial agreement should be put into place.

Background on the friend: Came from very very humble beginnings, to say the least. They value what they have, (as we all should). Sidebar: I know many people who value what they have, but I also know that some of these same folks suffer from delusions of grandeur. But I believe that is attached to traumatic childhood experiences, that often gets in the way of LIFE, because they have not chosen to overcome it, so they compensate with what they have, sometimes ad nauseum. But okay, back to the friend. The person they are considering marrying has a stable job (no home, but hey this is Cali, that's neither here nor there), very loving and caring, and very dedicated to the relationship. Both of them have children that they support.

(By the way, I am purposely leaving this gender neutral in order to keep this as objective as possible).

With that said, there are different sides to the pre-nuptial agreement debate:

The "Just in Case" Crowd:
With 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, and with laws governing divorce varying from state to state, which generally have some guidelines regarding community property. According to Wikipedia, community property dictates that most property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment, or death. And this, ladies and gentleman is the reason why people like Juanita Jordan, Ivana Trump, and yes, even K-Fed make out handsomely during a divorce. It is based upon what was earned during the time of the marital relationship. People believe that if in fact the fairy tale turns into a fairy hell, then there are contractual guidelines that will assist with the subsequent dissolution of the relationship. Furthermore, if in fact, one or the other couple becomes more financially profitable during this period, then, again, motions are set in place to adequately resolve any issues that may come up.

The "For Better or for Worse"
Crowd: The believe that you are setting up your marriage on a conditional basis is often tantamount to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Many folks believe that it is then, that you are watering down your vows to nothing more than a legal mantra of gobbledygook that you have to proceed with in order to make it official. Believing that you are putting your personal treasures ahead of your feelings, the conditional aspects of what one considers a binding love affair can be lauded as nothing more as say, a "bidness" arrangement. And, to the argument that if a person becomes more financially profitable during the relationship, then so be it. It was during the relationship, marriage is a two partner, one way street, and why not, indeed, share in the "Better" factor of the relationship?

Both sides have valid arguments. Both sides, also, have valid flaws (depending on your interpretation or position).

What are your thoughts on Pre-Nup's? Agree, disagree, or on the fence?


smoothie said...

Once again Im first!

Im split P. Here's Why, If I made Millions, and the person I married didnt, then this wouldt even be a discussion regardless the gender. It would be pre-nup All the way...Let love be what you leave with and not anything else..
Of course if kids are involved, this stance is changed.

However, in a marriage built from equal ground, I say give it a chance with the hope that if it doesnt work out, you as adults can come to an agreement on who gets the dog, and who gets the Sanford and Son DVD's..

The problem is, whats the role of the one who stands to lose the most. If one spouse is asked not to work and put in a more traditional role then they should be compensated. However, if you had money, and my money only makes you have more, then I say..We draw the papers..My wife actually has a co-worker whos married, but her and hubby have seperate Bank Accounts..Wrap your head around that..

That Girl Tam said...

Funny Smoothie should mention the separate bank

Xl and I have been down this road. I remember when we hooked up my mother almost insisted on a pre-nup (to protect what WILL be mine in the future). You can love someone with all your heart, but when shit gets sour, shit REALLY can go BAD - trust me, I've been there.

Now, my husband has pretty much always been the breadwinner (except for maybe twice in our 13 yr relationship) and he makes sure to remind me ALL.THE.FUCKIN.TIME. It's also about the character of the person (forget all that love shit, because again when things go wrong - love is the LAST thing on anyone's mind). My hubby is the type that would quit his job just so I can't take 1/2. Ain't that some shit? He'd disappear and move to an island in the middle of nowheresville. Now would he REALLY do that? Shit...ain't no tellin...he's funny like that.

We've had our money together, but it works best apart. When we had a joint account, he'd take out the limit @ the ATM and I wouldn't be able to even get $20. When I asked what he needed $300 for, he'd flip out and say shit like, "Don't ask me how I spend MY money!" So umm...yeah, that's ok, I'll do just fine staying in control of my own funds.

And you (P I'm talkin to YOU) already know how I feel about my trust fund and why the money sits where it is...because I like to know how it's being spent...not have my shit come up missing...

Hey...what's MINE is MINE and what's YOURS is MINE!

The shit can get sticky sometimes...

Aunt Jackie said...

my mother had a funny story about prenups. She introduced this friend of hers to this guy whom she was originally trying to hook up with me, and by the second of third date the chic was talking to him about how important having a pre-nup was to her...He damn near stopped dating her immediately.

From what i've heard finances are the biggest cause of friction in marriage, but i'm not sure that pre-nups solve the problem.

Phil said...

In undergrad, I took a gender relations class and I remember having this pre-nup discussion (i.e. yell-fest) one day. What I found SO weird, was that the Black women were more up in arms about not wanting to sign a pre-nup than the White girls were....

I just couldn't understand why, because statistically speaking, White men come into marriages with A LOT more shit than Black men do, so, shouldn't it have been the White girls up in there that day, damn near in tears about signing a binding "piece of paper?"

Well, whatever the case was that day, I tell you now, these Black chicks BETTER start reconsidering their baseless views on the pre-nup. Seeing as how Black women are doing SO much better than Black men as a whole these days, Black women need to be discussing pre-nups on the third or fourth date....

Shit, let Maurice the oil changer come into my office one day telling me all about the perils that his marketing exec wife has put him through -- and come to find out there's no pre-nup (because she was morally opposed to it). Not only will Maurice be coming out of that marriage with half of everything that SHE acquired DURING the marriage; Maurice will also be coming out of there with her poetry book, her MAC, her favorite coffee cup, a 1/4 of her stock options, all her Jill Scott CD's, and anything else that single independent Black women usually possess BEFORE marriage. Just something to think about....

Aunt Jackie said...

well phil not to be rude but if a marketing exec marries a guy that changes oil and can't afford a decent enough lawyer to keep him from taking her to the poor house that's her own damn problem!

Anyone that's looking at me and hoping to get half isn't really looking for much!

Aly Cat 121 said...

Dayum do "poor" folks do pre-nups? LOL. Frankly just cuz you have a house in your name (is it totally paid off?) and the other person doesn't . . .ummm doesn't mean that they need a pre-nup. It's not like the "house-less" person can take it. Why? Cuz it's not considered "community property" cuz they had it BEFORE the marriage. And as long as they don't put the partners name on it, then it's all good. (mother did family law for 20 years, sorry).

I guess if I was like the Queen of Kemet or something and was marrying someone from another kingdom then all of that stuff would be worked out, to protect my countries interest. But if I'm just me, barely got 2 nickles to rub together, then the money I'd spend on a lawyer would probably be more than a pre-nup was worth. LOL

Sha Boogie said...

I think that a prenup is appropriate if you got BIG money, start dating and find someone. Because lord knows that term 'gold digger' is REAL.

But, for some average everyday Joe's is rediculous! Aint nobody trying to take your $100 you done saved up playa, save the prenup for the ballers...LOL!

Miz JJ said...

As someone who witnessed a terribly messy divorce I am all for a pre-nup. A pre-nup can be anything you want it to be. It can be as vague or as specific as you choose to make it. Also, if you sign a pre-nup you can negotiate. If I met a dude who wanted me to sign a pre-nup I would definitely do it, but I would have my own lawyer look at it and I would negotiate from there. You do not have to just sign any old thing.

I think the most important part of a pre-nup is that it is an agreement on how to work divide up assets when you no longer can agree because you fucking hate each other. It happens. No need to wear blinders.

Peach said...

this is a tough one. when getting married you dont want to even discuss divorce LOL.

if you're rich and marry someone who is not so much 5-10 years of their life they live lavish i think its only fair you dont leave them in poverty. no matter what happens, at one point you loved them, and it would be vindictive to put them back on th streets with nothing.

If you love someone, then I dont think its too much to make sure that if and when the two of you go your seperate ways, your lives are not in complete ruin.

YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Ain't no need in me lyin'. Yeah I love that man's draws but err uhhhhh, I ain't gone have dude decide we're "wrong for each other" as soon as a substantial amount of money finds it's way into our accounts.

It's not like I had Trump Lotto, but in my 1st marriage, everything was about money. He was lousy at managing it, but quick to tell me what I couldn't have if we parted. If I knew then what I know now, Momma would've been entrusted to everything I had.

I wasn't crazy tho... had my Dad in my ear. Maybe he saw something I couldn't. Soooo I had an account with him, and I didn't miss a beat when ol' boy took flight. I said all that to say this.... even as a married couple, you should have your own stash that the other isn't allowed to debate over or touch.

P said...

To all: Thank you for all of your invigorating, thought provoking comments as usual. I think the greatness in eliciting all of these great reponses is that you are able to really get different viewpoints in all of this.

From a personal standpoint, there are boundaries in everything. How to act at a job (whether or not you are an entrepreneur), how to behave at a function, and yes, even how to behave in a marriage. Contractually speaking, though I understand the materialistic 'need', if I may, of people believing they need prenuptial agreements, I don't believe that most of them are drafted to make things 'clear', as if in a will.

I believe that most of them are drafted as a protective measure against the person that you are supposed to love and trust the most. Marriage is hard enough without putting any additional conditions upon it. If in fact, a contractual arrangement is set up, it should be just to protect BOTH of you, and frankly, I don't think Pre-nups are designed to do that. I just don't.

For me, there is nothing that I have that cannot be replaced (except for my life and health). So good riddance if we didn't sign one and everything is split down the middle. I will probably be more emotionally healthy anyway (provided it's a bad situation I'm getting out of).

Thanks again, for everyone's opinion.

PS: I don't think that A pre-nup, if in fact this is something that you believe it, is 'for the rich'. The purpose of a prenup is to protect current and future assets. Again, why do you think that these high profile couples ended up splitting things down the middle - because neither one of them didn't have sheeot when they started.

That Girl Tam said...

Can you blog already?

And stop calling me from your private number calling me names. :|

And stop doing that other ((inside joke))

princessdominique said...

I'm still on the fence. I think it depends on what you have. Those that have want the pre-nup and those who don't, don't see why it's necessary. Just ask K-Fed.

Profunksticated said...

Sorry, I don't care what anyone says about prenups -- when you insist that your intended sign a prenup, you're basically saying, "I don't trust you."

Don't even bother to get married, regardless of your assets, if you've got to have a prenup.

Marriage is supposed to be a God-ordained covenant, not a contract. Covenants are based on trust; contracts on mistrust.


Profunksticated said...

Sorry, I don't care what anyone says about prenups -- when you insist that your intended sign a prenup, you're basically saying, "I don't trust you."

Don't even bother to get married, regardless of your assets, if you've got to have a prenup.

Marriage is supposed to be a God-ordained covenant, not a contract. Covenants are based on trust; contracts on mistrust.