Author Topic: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony  (Read 1698 times)

Herbert Derp

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Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« on: June 26, 2018, 01:06:43 AM »
I've been pondering the topic of marriage, and the various legal issues that stem from it. Like many people on this board, I have a high income and significant assets. If I ever get married, it would be very likely that my partner would have far less income and assets. I find the prospect of losing a significant portion of my wealth in a divorce to be stomach churning, nor do I approve of someone else thinking they "own" part of my income. I have seen the ugly results of divorce with my own parents as well as other posters on this board, and I worry about the possibilty of the same to happen to me. Simply put, I see no reason why the government needs to be involved in my relationships.

The obvious response to this is to get a prenup, but there are various downsides to that, such as that prenups can be challenged in court and that they don't typically protect assets earned after the marriage.

So then, why not just maintain a long-term committed relationship but never get married? Plus, you can have a commitment ceremony instead of getting married. In theory, it would offer similar protection to a prenup but with less drawbacks.

I can think of some pros and cons.

Marriage

Pros:
- Most people seem to want this
- Possible tax benefits
- Other minor legal benefits such as hospital visitor rights, etc

Cons:
- Loss of up to 50% of assets in the event of a divorce
- Potential for alimony payments

Prenup

Pros:
- Protection of assets earned prior to marriage
- Possible tax benefits
- Other minor legal benefits such as hospital visitor rights, etc

Cons:
- Less popular than marriage
- Loss of up to 50% of assets earned after marriage in the event of a divorce
- Potential for alimony payments
- Potential to be challenged in court
- Legal hassle and lawyer fees are required to set up

Commitment ceremony

Pros:
- Protection of all assets
- No legal hassle or fees required to set up

Cons:
- Less popular than marriage
- No tax benefits
- No minor legal benefits such as hospital visitor rights
- Palimony?

What are your thoughts? Any other pros and cons that I'm missing?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 01:24:26 AM by Herbert Derp »

sokoloff

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2018, 01:25:51 AM »
I also came into our relationship with significantly more assets and income (though DW was reasonably frugal and "raised right" all around).

We'd been together 5 years, had a planned kid already and a second planned on the way, had a house in my name, and DW was considering leaving her ~$100K/yr job to stay home to raise two kids. That was the trigger to get married and I very willingly put "half my shit" on the line (a 7-figure sum). I suspect DW would have signed a reasonable pre-nup, but I didn't want to have that hanging over us. I actually like that there's real pain on the horizon if we were to split; I don't see it happening (her parents are together, mine are together, we've basically decided that hell or high water, we're staying together and I think we're 99% going to make that happen).

In the abstract, your thoughts are very reasonable. Hopefully with the right person and a multi-year "prove it" period, your concerns will also melt away.

Villanelle

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2018, 01:40:27 AM »
It seems like you aren't understanding what a prenup does.  It isn't about assets owned prior to marriage. Your assets prior to marriage are yours, regardless of a prenup.  The prenup addresses split of assets earned during the marriage, as well as things like alimony, exactly the thing you say it doesn't do.

Also, if you go for a "commitment ceremony", depending on details and location, you may end up in a common-law situation anyway, so if you want to avoid that, make sure you carefully explore the local laws. 

Also, if you want kids at some point, I think there are some "cons" to not being married, not the least of which is that hashing out custody and support can be somewhat more challenging.  (Doable, but perhaps more challenging.)

Herbert Derp

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2018, 02:00:22 AM »
It seems like you aren't understanding what a prenup does.  It isn't about assets owned prior to marriage. Your assets prior to marriage are yours, regardless of a prenup.  The prenup addresses split of assets earned during the marriage, as well as things like alimony, exactly the thing you say it doesn't do.

Are you sure about assets prior to the marriage? If I get married, I would expect the assets I brought in to grow significantly over time due to dividends and capital gains, and I do think at least a prenup would be required to protect them.

As for alimony, apparently prenups can't protect against this in certain situations:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/prenuptial-agreements-what-law-allows-30283.html

It does seem that you can have a prenup which protects income after marriage. Point taken. However, I have reservations about a more restrictive prenup like this because there would be a greater possibility of it being challenged in court due to being "unreasonable," plus it would be a greater albatross to have hanging over the marriage.

Malkynn

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 04:44:58 AM »
Ask a lawyer, not us.

Laws vary depending on where you are, where I live right now, a prenup is the best option. A 15 minute drive north, and prenups arenít very enforceable.
You need top notch expert advice on this to figure out whatís best for your particular situation in your particular region.

Noodle

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 06:44:24 AM »
Those "minor legal rights" you are hand-waving can be a bigger deal than you think. A friend lost her fiance when they were in their 20s. His death was due to some self-destructive behavior that the family (wrongly) blamed her for. Even though they were fully committed to each other as partners, she had zero rights to see him in the hospital, make decisions about his care, or about his memorial service. Even though he probably would have wanted his assets to go to taking care of her, the family did not choose to share any of those with her, or any of his possessions as keepsakes. Any legal action she could have taken would have required more time than they had.

Obviously a good lawyer can put structures in place to protect partners in an unmarried relationship, as same-sex partners had to do for many years, but you end up spending a lot of time and money to reconstruct what a marriage license will do for a small fee.

elliha

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 06:51:55 AM »
Those "minor legal rights" you are hand-waving can be a bigger deal than you think. A friend lost her fiance when they were in their 20s. His death was due to some self-destructive behavior that the family (wrongly) blamed her for. Even though they were fully committed to each other as partners, she had zero rights to see him in the hospital, make decisions about his care, or about his memorial service. Even though he probably would have wanted his assets to go to taking care of her, the family did not choose to share any of those with her, or any of his possessions as keepsakes. Any legal action she could have taken would have required more time than they had.

Obviously a good lawyer can put structures in place to protect partners in an unmarried relationship, as same-sex partners had to do for many years, but you end up spending a lot of time and money to reconstruct what a marriage license will do for a small fee.

This!

Also, I would not like the idea of a commitment ceremony. To me that would scream "I am a man who doesn't want to take responsibility for the people in my life if it is inconvenient. If your partner has a uterus and becomes pregnant that person will have to take on something that is a huge toll on the body, perhaps nurse afterwards and have huge responsibilities for this human and if you would leave your partner and the human you created a marriage will make it easier to get child support and such and that is important.

My best advice is to find a woman that is as much in tune with you regarding finances as possible, who herself has assets and that is not likely to be destitute after a divorce. That would reduce her objecting to a pre-nup, she might want one too and if she knows she can support herself she is less likely to want alimony. If you have children, be prepared to pay for them whether you live with their other parent or not, that is part of the deal of having children.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 07:10:47 AM »
Even though a divorce is more difficult when being a married, a proper marriage good provide more safety for your children. When married you have to sign for having a shared responsibility for your children (at least that is we we had to do), whether you plan to have any or not.

If you are not married, you should both sign a testament to heave your assets to each other.

Yankuba

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2018, 07:29:42 AM »
I would recommend marriage if both parties wish to have children. If neither person wants children then I would not recommend marriage, especially if there is a large difference in income/assets.

MrDelane

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 07:36:58 AM »
Pondering marriage without a specific partner in mind is a bit like pondering what you should pack for a vacation when you have no idea where you're going.

Obviously you'll want to remember your phone charger.... but whether you should pack a sweater or a swimsuit is all going to depend on the destination.

There is only so much you're ever going to figure out in the abstract.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2018, 07:44:43 AM »
I agree that there is FAR more than just "minor" rights associated with being married, and for those that you can legally agree to separately, it's expensive to set up.  Rights include:
- Financial (inheritance, tax-free transfer of property, social security benefits, SSI, veteran's disability, pensions, etc.),
- Medical (to make decisions for the other, to be in hospital room),
- Housing (rent control properties, live on easements, automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse),
- Education (e.g. employer sponsored education, GI bill),
- Employment (insurance, family leave, bereavement time),
- Death (decisions about autopsy, burials, organ donations etc.)
- Consumer benefits (family rates for home/auto insurance, car rentals)
- Legal benefits (right to sue for wrongful death, marital communications privilege, immigration)
- and many others

Are you considering having kids?  I wouldn't have mind signing a prenup, but I sure as heck wouldn't have wanted to have kids with someone without being married.  If my partner couldn't commit to rights and responsibilities of being married, I wouldn't have wanted to make the huge lifetime commitment of kids with him.

I also think you overplay the likelihood of a prenup being overturned.  While a few states are less friendly to prenups, in general if both parties have independent counsel and it's fair at the time it was entered into and exited, then it'll be upheld.  If one spouse went bankrupt/health issues, etc., while the other made big bucks, then yeah the government isn't keen to see the first spouse destitute.  (Think of it this way: The government has an interest in not being on the hook to provide public benefits for that spouse.)  If one spouse plans to gives up their career to raise kids, you probably want to take that into consideration when drafting the prenup.  Prenups themselves aren't the problem (I venture to guess they are more popular than no marriage at all), although some people do consider them "planning for failure".  Just don't do it last minute, and draft something that both people think is fair beforehand, when everyone is in love.  Think through possible scenarios as well (e.g. kids, health issues, business failure).

But, +1 to MrDelane.  It's tough to plan marriage in the abstract.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 08:18:40 AM by Captain FIRE »

Plina

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2018, 02:04:15 PM »
I always find the american obsession with marriages somewhat amusing. It seems like many of you get fast married and fast divorced because you seem to have some idea that you have to be married. I donít see a problem with living together as long as it is something both of you want. I donít see the point of the commitment ceremony as I assume if you are living together you are also committed to eachother.  Although I would never be a stay at home parent without being married because of the financial risk.


elliha

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2018, 02:33:21 PM »
I always find the american obsession with marriages somewhat amusing. It seems like many of you get fast married and fast divorced because you seem to have some idea that you have to be married. I donít see a problem with living together as long as it is something both of you want. I donít see the point of the commitment ceremony as I assume if you are living together you are also committed to eachother.  Although I would never be a stay at home parent without being married because of the financial risk.

I am not American. Most countries in the world have some clear benefits to marriage that just living together does not provide.

iris lily

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2018, 02:48:08 PM »
I always find the american obsession with marriages somewhat amusing. It seems like many of you get fast married and fast divorced because you seem to have some idea that you have to be married. I donít see a problem with living together as long as it is something both of you want. I donít see the point of the commitment ceremony as I assume if you are living together you are also committed to eachother.  Although I would never be a stay at home parent without being married because of the financial risk.

I am not American. Most countries in the world have some clear benefits to marriage that just living together does not provide.
Yes.

If people wish to live together without being married so be it,  but at least become educated on the legal benefits and protections that the marriage certificate provides.Gubmnt benefits like marriage.

At this time coupling without legal marriage is carried out in our lower socioeconomic classes more than in any other class, not withstanding the practices of the tiny percentage of uber rich hollywood types who also decline marriage.

The book ďPromises I Can KeepĒ is a view into the minds of unmarried mothers who purposely stay that way. That isnt a life I would emulate, but YMMV.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2018, 08:30:15 AM »
I am going to put my two cents in here. There are no guarantees on a marriage working out. We have all seen marriages end in the first year and marriages end after 35 years or more. Some marriages last a lifetime.

My first piece of advice is to become friends before becoming lovers. Date a long time. Go to a lot of fun places and that will require money but not all dates have to be expensive. Picnic's, walks in parks, biking, car rides to different states are not that expensive. My point is spending a lot of quality time with a person leads to knowing the person better. Their feelings, their likes and dislikes. This is the time of discovery. This person may have a lot of qualities you like but may not be the right person to spend a lifetime together with.

It can be painful to end a relationship but it is better to eliminate the rotten eggs before marriage and before kids when things become complicated.

Marriage unifies two people and strengthens the relationship. When not married it is easier to walk away when times get hard.

I would also talk to a lawyer about your assets and how to protect them. Maybe you will find out that what you have before marriage would be yours to keep so no need for a prenup. Assets earned after marriage would be joint I would imagine.

When I used to work I enjoyed the company of men rather than women (I am a woman). I was friends with many men and happily married too. I would sometimes analyze these men and would imagine what it might be like to be married with them. I knew a lot of their idiosyncries, their likes and dislikes and their annoying habbits. Just from casual observation I could determine if I was not married what it might be like to be with this person. You need to do a lot of observation and analysis to determine if the person you pick is THE ONE!

Good luck and keep us posted.

Plina

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2018, 10:23:26 AM »
I always find the american obsession with marriages somewhat amusing. It seems like many of you get fast married and fast divorced because you seem to have some idea that you have to be married. I donít see a problem with living together as long as it is something both of you want. I donít see the point of the commitment ceremony as I assume if you are living together you are also committed to eachother.  Although I would never be a stay at home parent without being married because of the financial risk.


I am not American. Most countries in the world have some clear benefits to marriage that just living together does not provide.
Yes.

If people wish to live together without being married so be it,  but at least become educated on the legal benefits and protections that the marriage certificate provides.Gubmnt benefits like marriage.

At this time coupling without legal marriage is carried out in our lower socioeconomic classes more than in any other class, not withstanding the practices of the tiny percentage of uber rich hollywood types who also decline marriage.

The book ďPromises I Can KeepĒ is a view into the minds of unmarried mothers who purposely stay that way. That isnt a life I would emulate, but YMMV.

I believe it is important to educate yourself about the differences. Here the biggest difference is that your spouse automatically inherits you if you are married and if you have kids the inheritance part is a less of a hassle. But all that can be fixed by a will.

It is interesting to see the differences between countries. I would not say that living together is associated to lower socioeconomical classes here. I actually looked up statistics and the majority of children, about 55 % of the children born has unmarried parents.


lizzzi

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2018, 12:40:05 PM »
Those "minor legal rights" you are hand-waving can be a bigger deal than you think. A friend lost her fiance when they were in their 20s. His death was due to some self-destructive behavior that the family (wrongly) blamed her for. Even though they were fully committed to each other as partners, she had zero rights to see him in the hospital, make decisions about his care, or about his memorial service. Even though he probably would have wanted his assets to go to taking care of her, the family did not choose to share any of those with her, or any of his possessions as keepsakes. Any legal action she could have taken would have required more time than they had.

Obviously a good lawyer can put structures in place to protect partners in an unmarried relationship, as same-sex partners had to do for many years, but you end up spending a lot of time and money to reconstruct what a marriage license will do for a small fee.

This. It happened to my cousin when she and her lived-together-but-not-married fiance were hit by a careless driver--killed the fiance and my cousin went to his funeral in a wheelchair. His parents were just like Noodle describes. They even took my cousin's houseplants out of the shared apartment. Just a heartbreak.

marty998

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2018, 04:12:27 AM »
OP you are kidding yourself if you think you can only lose up to 50% of your assets. You'll either lose the rest in legal fees, or if she gets custody she'll get much more than 50% and you'll be in debt for the legal fees :P

Doomsaying aside, there's a lot of good advice here. (Probably quite useful for me too).

partgypsy

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2018, 03:37:18 PM »
Pondering marriage without a specific partner in mind is a bit like pondering what you should pack for a vacation when you have no idea where you're going.

Obviously you'll want to remember your phone charger.... but whether you should pack a sweater or a swimsuit is all going to depend on the destination.

There is only so much you're ever going to figure out in the abstract.
Ditto. Once you are in a serious relationship, discuss this with your partner. Otherwise this is all academic.

partgypsy

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2018, 07:36:56 PM »
This may be off topic, but i read through your journal and I'm really impressed at your journey to optimize your life right now as asset accumulation stage. That takes sacrifice and cutting out things, but rather than feeling deprived, your journal has a positive vibe. Anyways, what u are doing is so rare and unusual, it is going to be equally rare and unusual to find your female equivalent. If you do find someone you want to be with, and vice versa it's probably going to take compromising and growth on both sides. Just don't jump into anything. There's a lot of emotional and relationship work that needs to happen before you get to legal stuff.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 08:08:01 PM by partgypsy »

Herbert Derp

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2018, 12:26:08 AM »
I get what you guys are saying with regards to kids, and agree that some sort of legal agreement is probably for the best if I did decide to have children at some point. However, that is definitely hypothetical as I currently do not have any plan or desire to have children. But this may change 10 years from now, who knows? What I do know, however, is that I want to have a relationship before 10 years from now which does not involve children.

This may be off topic, but i read through your journal and I'm really impressed at your journey to optimize your life right now as asset accumulation stage. That takes sacrifice and cutting out things, but rather than feeling deprived, your journal has a positive vibe. Anyways, what u are doing is so rare and unusual, it is going to be equally rare and unusual to find your female equivalent. If you do find someone you want to be with, and vice versa it's probably going to take compromising and growth on both sides. Just don't jump into anything. There's a lot of emotional and relationship work that needs to happen before you get to legal stuff.

Thanks! I know my situation is pretty unusual. Since I graduated college, I've been so absorbed in my work and focused on the accumulation stage that when I take a moment to reflect on where everyone else my age is at in life, I'm like, "holy crap!" I'm so ahead in some areas, but so behind in others. It's pretty weird! If Mrs. Herbert Derp does exist, I haven't seen any trace of her. But I do want to have my thoughts together and some sort of plan / ideas before I dive into random relationships, hence this thread.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 12:36:03 AM by Herbert Derp »

Malkynn

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2018, 05:57:02 AM »
You are putting the cart WAY before the horse.
This isn't a life decision you can game in advance. The best way to handle assets in a marriage will depends highly on the *combination* of assets in the relationship and the needs, risks, beliefs, and values of the person you are partnering with.

Trying to pre-plan your marital asset strategy is like trying to pre-plan your hypothetical contracts with your imaginary future business partner without having either a business or a partner and no idea who is bringing what to the table. Are you trying to protect your intellectual property or a financial investment?? See, you can't know what needs protecting until you know what each person brings to the table and what each person values protecting.

What if you fall in love with someone with a MUCH bigger 'stache? The priority may actually be protecting *her* assets and not yours.

Once you settle down with someone, you evaluate your collective situation, research the appropriate laws as they apply to you, compare various options: cohabitating, marriage, prenup, wills, etc, and then you apply the most appropriate legal contracts to your particular situation in a way that's most mutually beneficial.
You can't predict in advance what your situation will need, so don't try to. 

The key isn't to know the law in advance so that you can have a plan to protect yourself, the key is to build a trusting relationship with someone where you can talk openly about these things without either side having hurt feelings, and where all decisions can be made with mutual and respectful interest at heart.

DH and I have a very complex financial dynamic where the pre-existing laws do not serve our needs well and are in no way fair or in accordance with our shared values. We very openly discuss finances, legalities, clauses, values, fairness, etc. We customized agreements that we feel are mutually protective and account for the complexities of our financial circumstances. We also revisit things when our situation materially changes, like when I quit my full time job and went part time, or when I started the two businesses. We update our marital agreement as well as our wills as it makes sense to do so. It's really not a big deal.

It's not a bad idea to have a basic understanding of law as it applies wherever you may want to live, but you don't need to be an expert; that's what lawyers are for. It's far more important to have a relationship where you can be open and honest about this kind of thing if it's really that important to you. If you want it to be, it can be a very positive part of your relationship, not something you feel you need to be stressed about.



Roadrunner53

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2018, 06:16:08 AM »
Herbert Derp, I am curious. You are very frugal in every way. Do you expect to find someone as frugal as you? That could be a high expectation. Maybe you will find a person that is frugal but can't cope with your diet that you find just perfect. For instance, I knew this guy who was really frugal and one of the things he would eat was chicken thighs and he bought them dirt cheap. He was dating a woman who preferred boneless chicken breasts which cost considerably more. It bugged him quite a bit on her spendy ways. They ended up breaking up for a while, mostly because she took a job in another state. But eventually, they got back together and got married. I think she unfrugled him a bit. I saw them last Christmas time and they were very happy and made a great couple. My point is, you may not find a person with the standards you follow and have you prepared yourself for a possible different lifestyle of spending?

Hula Hoop

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2018, 01:23:06 PM »
I always find the american obsession with marriages somewhat amusing. It seems like many of you get fast married and fast divorced because you seem to have some idea that you have to be married. I donít see a problem with living together as long as it is something both of you want. I donít see the point of the commitment ceremony as I assume if you are living together you are also committed to eachother.  Although I would never be a stay at home parent without being married because of the financial risk.

What is American about marriage?  Pretty much every culture in the world has some form of marriage.  I don't think Americans are any more obsessed by marriage than anyone else.  Here in Italy, people spend huge amounts on weddings and plan theirs for years.  The divorce rate is pretty much the same as in the US.


I'm not sure if this is the same in other countries, but here in Italy, you can only decide who will inherit your property up to a certain point.  From what I remember, if you are married, your spouse gets 50% and kids get 50% of your property.  If you are not married then your siblings, parents, cousins etc get a large share of your estate as well as any kids you might have.  You can will a very small amount of your estate to a non-family member includeing a partner.  It's extremely difficult to leave property to a partner you aren't married to.  This is why gay marriage is such an important issue here. 
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 01:27:51 PM by Hula Hoop »

sparkytheop

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2018, 04:26:21 PM »
I'm not pro or anti marriage, I feel like whatever works for the couple, great.  However, one thing that amuses me is "a marriage certificate is just a piece of paper".  But, for those who want that "level of commitment" without "that paper", they end up having to sign so many more pieces of paper (beneficiary for life insurance, retirement, pension, medical information, etc, etc) that would normally just have the spouse as the default.

I got divorced when we were poor and it was a simple, inexpensive process.  We did own a house together, but I just signed it over to him with the agreement that I could rent it for two years from him.  In the end, because I was paying the full mortgage and not half, and he had not refinanced it as agreed, he just signed it over to me.

Now, many years later, I have a good job, good benefits, a nice retirement account, a mortgage for much less than my house is worth, property, etc.  I also have a son (from previous marriage).  I accumulated this on my own.  I don't plan to leave a large inheritance, but if things go more right than wrong, it's going to happen.

This is money I earned, I saved, I sacrificed for.  Same with the items I own.  My son rode along those sacrifices with me, so in a way, he's earned some of it too.  It's not easy to be a kid to a single mom who has to be gone 12+ hours a day to earn a good income, while the father is completely absent.

I don't know if I'll ever get remarried.  I don't know if I'll ever be in a long term relationship again.  I do know, that if it happens, I would feel a duty to preserve my son's place in that "when I die" future, but I'd also need to keep things "fair" with any future spouse/partner.  I honestly am not sure what that would look like, but it would involve lawyers, a pre-nup, and redesigning beneficiary setup.

Now, future spouse could have a great job, great financial ethics, but come with half of what I have because of a recent divorce.  Or, they could also have children.  Or, they could be single and childless (and remain so, since I'm not having any more!)

However, we would build a life together and I wouldn't want that life to be ripped away from someone I love if I were to die.

My "as much as I can plan for goal" is to split my retirement beneficiary.  Maybe 25% to spouse, 75% to son (he would ideally have his own retirement, so why would he need more than 25% of mine?)  The property?  Well, if future-spouse and I build a house together, shops together, pay the taxes and work the land, well, I can't just have him kicked off.  Not sure my son would be interested in the land either.  So, plan there is to create no debt with spouse.  Pay for things as we can, do them together, etc.  What if my son wants the land?  I'd need to figure out how my spouse could live there, but not be able to sell it or give it away to anyone, and that it would go to my son after spouse's death.

What if we get married and end up divorced?  I'm not going to pay for my land a second time, and I'm not going to give it up or sell it.  But, there will (likely) be newer buildings and improvements that we both put our blood, sweat, tears, and money into...

There are no blanket answers.  Some people's pros are other people's cons.

My situation could be so convoluted that it takes a large pre-nup.  Or, I could meet a man who fits into my life so well that the pre-nup is simple and we both walk away with what we came in with, wouldn't want to stay on the property without me if I died or we got divorced, etc.

It doesn't hurt to think about the future so you are aware of your options, but everything will be so dependent on who comes into your life, and who they become after they are there (that last part you have no control over).

Roadrunner53

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2018, 04:39:49 PM »
Would it make any sense to put a prenup in place even though there is no significant other in place at this time? Kind of like a generic pre nup as a place holder in the event you do get married again. It could be tweaked once a spouse is selected.

I always thought pre nups were kind of nasty and a romance killer but I also accumulated a nest egg and I would not want it taken from me if I was ever in that situation.

It does seem kind of a romance killer but as long as assets accumulated were split evenly after the marriage,  I think that is fair for both parties.

sparkytheop

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2018, 05:34:15 PM »
Oh, and don't forget Spousal Privilege/Marital Privilege in court.  I'm sure that's been a pro for some couples...

sparkytheop

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2018, 06:02:33 PM »
Would it make any sense to put a prenup in place even though there is no significant other in place at this time? Kind of like a generic pre nup as a place holder in the event you do get married again. It could be tweaked once a spouse is selected.

I always thought pre nups were kind of nasty and a romance killer but I also accumulated a nest egg and I would not want it taken from me if I was ever in that situation.

It does seem kind of a romance killer but as long as assets accumulated were split evenly after the marriage,  I think that is fair for both parties.

In case this was meant for me (because the "married again" part).

I don't see any reason to put much energy into a pre-even-dating-anyone prenup write up, especially since I've been single so long, and so many things will change even in the next couple years (kid will no longer be a dependent, house may be built, etc).

However, I do think it's good for me to think of the things I'd need to consider now, before my head is over-ridden with emotions.  There are just too many unknown variables to plan it out.

I'm content enough, happy enough, and financially well off enough on my own, that in order for a guy to pique my interest in a commitment, he's going to have to be on the same page as me in a lot of ways.  I'm just at a point in my life where I'm not going to add someone who is more trouble and upset than they are worth, and have turned down a lot of interest from people who just weren't a good fit, even if it means I stay single.

I used to believe that a pre-nup was "unromantic", but I'm less concerned about that after having been through my own divorce, watching other divorces, or even people staying together when they really shouldn't.  Especially after watching my uncle's new wife (my aunt died, so he had been widowed) after his death (it was not good... he had two adult children, I don't think she had any).

I have assets and a child.  Future spouse may have assets and children (or not). My respect is going to go to a man who is as balanced about wanting to look after his children (as well as me), as I am for mine (and him).  A pre-nup should be no issue at this stage of life, and if it is, he's not going to be right for me, romance or not.

I believe in fair.  I believe fair isn't always "equal".  I think there are a lot of non-financial ways you can add to a marriage or drain the life from it.  I'm sure the pre-nup drafting lawyer would earn their money...

Malkynn

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2018, 04:25:57 AM »
Would it make any sense to put a prenup in place even though there is no significant other in place at this time? Kind of like a generic pre nup as a place holder in the event you do get married again. It could be tweaked once a spouse is selected.

I always thought pre nups were kind of nasty and a romance killer but I also accumulated a nest egg and I would not want it taken from me if I was ever in that situation.

It does seem kind of a romance killer but as long as assets accumulated were split evenly after the marriage,  I think that is fair for both parties.

If you read my previous post, you will see how that makes no sense and how it doesnít have to be at all nasty or a romance killer.

No matter what, society will apply generic laws to your relationship, an agreement (aka prenup) just customizes those laws to make them more appropriate for the two people participating in the legal contract.

Itís only because of the idiotic portrayal of prenups in movies that people think of them as nasty or selfish, when really, theyíre extremely similar to having a will, and most people would consider having that to be common sense.

Also, donít just assume that because you have assets that youíre the only one whose interests need to be protected. If you go into it with that attitude, then yes, it could be unromantic and nasty because thatís a selfish attitude.
If you prioritize open and honest discussion about money, values, and fairness, then putting in on paper shouldnít be at all awkward.

Apple_Tango

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2018, 06:36:32 AM »
I think prenup all the way. Even if assets are low for BOTH parties, I think a prenup is wise because you can just follow the directions during the divorce and take some emotional decisions out. You can always tear it up later, or say that in 30 years the prenup is voided. Itís your contract, you can do whatever you want.

Also, OP, I imagine that if you fall in love, the woman will be frugal. I donít know you personally, but I just canít see you loving woman who is super into consumuer goods and frivolous purchases. Financial reasons are the number one reason for divorce, so yíall should be somewhat reading the same book, even if youíre not on the exact same page as youíll likely be on page 500 and sheíll be on page 100 unless sheís older than you and has had time to accumulate assets.
It's a lateral freeze down during the melt up.  Soon to be followed by the transverse falling bounce and the transient index inversion short, both of which are also strong sell signals in this buyer's market.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2018, 02:37:00 PM »

https://www.amazon.com/1001-Questions-Ask-Before-Married/dp/0071438033

Do your homework before you get married. And don't think something silly like a prenup means you and your partner are on the same page!

spartana

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Re: Marriage vs prenup vs commitment ceremony
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2018, 11:40:47 PM »
@Herbert Derp I posted here already but put in too much personal stuff so deleted. Heres a modified version.

Besides divorce there may be some other things that could happen to impact your separate stash while married that may not be subject to a pre-nup. Your spouse may have high cost medical needs or long term care needs in which your assets could be counted to pay for her expenses, or to be drawn down in order to qualify for Medicaid. She may be subject to a law suit in which your assets, even if held separately, couof be counted as assets in the suit. Same if she ran up high debts and/or filed for bankruptcy. You as a spouse may be liable for those. None of these would impact you if you are not married or in a registered domestic partnership or common law marriage.

I'm divorced and had a very amicable friendly divorce made easy by having separate assets,  similar earnings and NWs,  and no kids or debts when we seperated. No alimony for either. We even did it ourselves for about $200. But because I want to protect my current assets, especially as a FIREd person, I won't legally marry again and would only consider living together but with separate finances. I have been VERY upfront about that while dating since I divorced (along with my FIRE goals and desire for no kids) and its been a deal breaker for some guys. But I would rather be straight up with my desires  than string someone along (or be strung along) who wants different things in life.

So if you think remaining unmarried and having separate finances is best for you be honest about that. Unlike old me who re-entered the dating world in my late 30s,  I often met divorced people who were onboard with the no marriage no kids thing (FIRE was a different story though). But you'll likely date women under 30 so might be more difficult to find someone who shares your financial values and desire for separate finances. Hopefully you'll meet someone on the same page as you both financially and FIRE-wise. Good luck. Dating is fun so take a break from working so hard toward FI and get out there and enjoy while young!

ETA you might want to start a thread to see how unmarried couples or married people with pre-nups structure their finances for some ideas.
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