Mayfield's picture

Speak up for a Pre-nup?

I have a friend who is entering into his third marriage. His first marriage lasted more than a dozen years, produced no kids, and ended in divorce. The next marriage lasted far less time, produced no kids, and ended in a messy, protracted divorce.

This year, his girlfriend, an old university classmate is expecting his child. She's going to have the kid, and they're going to raise it together, so I'm told.

Because there's a kid on the way, I asked if they were getting married. I asked this because it seemed obvious to me he should, for the good of his kid and the protection of his own rights and assets - not the least of which being the protection of the access to his kid - marry this woman (under a pre-nuptual agreement) lickety-split.

Here's why:

1) The benefit of the kid is what I'm considering first. A marriage under a prenup reduces variability and decreases the chance that the kid's life will begin under a protracted divorce nightmare.

2) The odds of a divorce are frankly pretty good. The ink is barely dry on his ugly, expensive second divorce, made all the more ugly and expensive thanks to having no prenup.

3) Both he and I are friends going back to grade school - and we're both children of divorced parents. It was terrible for both of us in a lot of ways, and we both remember this. I guess I'm the only one applying what we learned, though.

4) After meeting this woman, I found she sets off a lot of alarms. A bit obnoxious, cold, self-absorbed, really, really likes her booze, has a series of interpersonal train wrecks in her own past, and the capper - her sister just had a kid, a case of filial uterine me-too-ism if ever I saw one.

No matter the reason, the the bun is in the oven already. So I bring up marriage.

Did he say "Yeah, I'm on it"? Did he say "Of course, what am I, an idiot? We're doing a prenup" No, he did not. He looked at me like I was crazy, like marrying the mother
of his child or getting a prenup was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in his many years.

A couple of weeks after our talk, he did ask her to marry him and she did accept, but there's no talk of a prenuptual agreement.

So: Should I press him about this?

Or am I out of line? Am I over-reacting to what is just another set of benign variables that some weird upper-middle class people find themselves having kids under?

junieg's picture

I think that if you want to remain this man's friend then you need to mind your own business and let them work out things for themselves. They are both grown ups and neither of them will probably appreciate you butting in.

tamz's picture

On one hand I agree with Junie that it's not your business and on the other hand I think you should advise your friend.

Mayfield's picture

Yeah, it's not very cut-and-dried, is it? I really don't want to prod into people's lives as a rule, it's just that if there was ever a situation worth risking a friendship over, this is it.

I don't even expect to be heeded - looking back at this post it looks like I talked him into getting married, which I didn't, they had planned to "in a few years". The date was pushed up, but not soon enough to make a difference legally. The key is the pre-nup.

When you see something coming from a mile away and it happens, and you didn't sound the alarm...that's a pretty bad feeling.

I mean, isn't it obvious that not getting a pre-nup after your second divorce is a bad, bad, bad idea for your kid and yourself?

SnglDad's picture

My grandmother always said “those who don’t listen have to feel”. You have stated your opinion and given your advice to your friend, now it’s time to let him live with his decisions. Nothing he has dealt with in his past divorces will have prepared him for the cost and stress that comes with a custody battle.

acitez's picture

If the other marriages had resulted in children, or if the gf had children from other relationships, then a pre-nup would be advisable. As it is, the assets do not need to be protected for other children. A pre-nup would not benefit the child.

SnglDad's picture

Having something in writing ahead of time to prevent a custody battle would most definitely benefit the child. Preventing a financially draining divorce would benefit the child. Preventing the parents from becoming adversaries by sticking with their agreed upon prenuptial agreement would benefit the child. This is not just about assets, this is also about stability during a divorce and limiting the negative effects that too many children have to endure when their parents decide they can no longer live together. Included in this should be a plan for the marital home and that the custodial parent would remain in the home with the child. Every possible issue that could be agreed upon prior to any problem arising will benefit the child either directly, or indirectly.

acitez's picture

Hadn't thought about that. "If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail" turned on its head.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Use your head, or use your heart. Hmmm. I personally am surprised that your friend didn't ask for a pre-nup being that he was divorced twice before. However, when you're in love, your heart often takes over. I never wanted a pre-nup b/c to me, it's like the other person's saying he doesn't trust you enough to know you wldn't screw him over. That being said, I've witnessed some pretty messy divorces where couples who were once head over heals for one another, suddenly became totally different people out of anger and hurt. So, is a pre-nup practical? Absolutely. Is it for everyone? Not necessarily. People need to live and learn, and still some people never learn. Yet it is their life, therefore it is their decision. You voiced your concern, now back off. Just because you and your friend were the children of divorced parents, doesn't mean that this guy doesn't have a chance at a successful marriage. Statistic wise, the odds are not in his favor. You can choose to be an optimist or not. I'd choose optimism and be happy for my friend. If it all falls apart, be supportive. Please don't tell him I told you so. Think positive. 8- )