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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: Should I Sign the Prenup?

Dear E. Jean--

I’m engaged to be married to a wonderful man at the end of the summer. He comes from a very well known, prestigious family in our home town. We grew up together, went to the same high school, etc., but only began seeing each other about three years ago.

All of our wedding planning is finalized, but over the weekend, he dropped a bomb on me. He told me his father wants me to sign a prenuptial. Obviously this caught me by surprise and has left a very sour taste in my mouth. My fiancé has been trying to reassure me that this was not his doing, but rather his father trying to protect his son.

I love this man and intend on spending the rest of my life with him, but this prenuptial looming over my head is making me feel like I am just not good enough for him or his family. I understand that prenups are important and necessary for certain situations, but I am no stranger to this family nor has our love for each other ever been questioned. I’m so confused, what should I do?

To see E. Jean's answer

CONFUSED MY CRUMPET: Bah! Prenups!

It’s never fun to begin a marriage by signing a document describing all the hideous ways you’re going to end it. Indeed, a prenup (or the “bomb” as you call it with such endearing perfection) is the opposite of a marriage vow. It slaughters trust, kills romance, puts sex on a financial basis; and I’m just talking about the good prenups.

That said, if you were wealthy, and he was a poor lad, I’d be screeching at you to get a contract. As Alec Baldwin told Elle magazine: “It’s about having a document that states how you’ll dissolve your marriage while you still have a shred of respect for each other.” Rich families require prenups to protect their huge assets. So grit your teeth, hire a stout-hearted attorney and hammer out a fair deal.

Some provisions I advise you to include:

  1. Make it clear--in writing-- that splitting up is NOT an option for you, and that this prenuptial contract is an insult to your commitment to your future husband.
  2. If any trouble arises in the marriage, your husband agrees to sit down and talk about it . . . until the problem is fixed. Failing that he agrees to see a counselor.
  3. If the marriage flounders because your husband is unfaithful, you get X million dollars. (As PopSugar reported awhile back, Katie Holmes lawyer father “played hardball” with Tom Cruise about how much money Katie would receive if the marriage lasted five years/ten years/fifteen years, etc.)
  4. When you earn your own millions, you agree to be generous with your husband.
  5. You look forward to talking openly and often about finances; and you will begin discussions the very instant your fiancé provides you with a complete itemized list of his total worth--including, but not restricted to, stocks, bonds, salaries, property, future inheritances, along with his family’s holdings, properties, stocks, bonds, assigns, etc., etc. (Your father-in-law wants a pre-nup? Give him a prenup.)
  6. All children you have together will be financially, spiritually, and emotionally protected.

Now. My darling, in the coming years you’ll endure many dust-ups, spats, and hassles with your husband. I know you love him, and no doubt he’s a captivating chap. But he’s also a dillweed. When he tried “to reassure (you) that it was not his doing, but rather his father;” (in plain English, when he refused to stand up to his dad) he showed himself to be less than brave in the Heroic Department. It means you’ll have to work doubly hard to keep the love and respect in your marriage because, frankly, he may turn out to be a pantywaist.

P.S. My second husband and I wrote up a prenup on a cocktail napkin in a Mexican restaurant with Geraldo Rivera officiating as attorney for both parties. I will tell you this: Geraldo is divine, but always hire your own lawyer.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and AskEJean.com

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Join The Conversation
kittycat8 kittycat8 8 years
DO NOT go NEAR a prenup without a good lawyer- and I mean your own lawyer, not his. Best!
RocketScience RocketScience 8 years
Thank you Auntie Eeeee for calling out the pantywaist! Miss Confused, are you sure you want to marry the guy? I'm sure he bends over backwards to please you... but watching him act the same way around his dad and goodness-knows-who-else for the rest of your life? Sounds nerve grating.
MotoLinz MotoLinz 8 years
It seems like every time I open DearSugar, I am reading about my own life. :rotfl: Great advice here. Hire your own lawyer, and add your own provisions. That's the great thing about pre-nups - they aren't one-sided if you get involved. Good luck! :)
nessabum nessabum 8 years
i agree with E. Jean. your man should have stood up to his father. reassurance is kind of wimpy in this case. i mean, it's HIS marriage, NOT his father's. his father shouldn't be putting in his own terms.
Marci Marci 8 years
I don't have an issue with pre-nups. If the marriage survives, it means absolutely nothing. But if the marriage doesn't survive, at least there's an outline of how things will be handled that was thought out and drawn up when everyone still cared about each other. I agree with Alex Baldwin on this front. But as someone else said, don't just sign it freely. Get a professional to look it over and make sure your back is covered.
reeveske reeveske 8 years
i thought the same thing partysugar! I love her already- her life story has definently made her a pretty interestingly fabulous chick! lol
Feesje Feesje 8 years
"Your father-in-law wants a pre-nup? Give him a prenup." Love that line. :) Great advice.
partysugar partysugar 8 years
E. Jean your life sounds so fabulously exciting! I want to grow up and be just like you.
scarletwine scarletwine 8 years
While the idea may leave a bad taste in your mouth, there's nothing that says a prenup can't be a civil agreement that benefits both sides. Hire yourself a lawyer who will look over what they draw up, and add/change clauses that the agreement will protect your own income as well as whatever other assets you might bring or earn while you're married. If you plan on having children, make sure that they are well-accounted for beyond whatever the state might demand. If your fiancee is a stand up guy, he should pay your attorneys fees, since he is asking you to go through this process. If he can't stand up to his dad but you love him regardless, then at least stand up for yourself.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
personally i think the problem is not the prenup but the fact that he's either letting his father call the shots on demanding it, or using his father as an excuse to demand it himself. do you want to be married to a man who isn't the one in charge of his life? how about a man who won't take responsibility for his choices? if yes, then by all means jump right in and enjoy what flows from that set-up.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Popgoestheworld has a great point. I can completely see the reason in it. I'm not sure of the original-asker's financial situation, but if you can, hire a fabulous attorney. (your future hubby should be willing to help you out, if you can't) Don't settle for less than you should.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 8 years
Get your own attorney and make sure you make provisions as well for the money you are bringing in.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
i say go for it but hire a professional to have your back!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I have convinced myself that prenups are romantic. That you love someone so much you want to protect them down the road, even if things don't go as planned. And when does everything go as planned these days? There is no way I'm getting married without one - and it's not because I'm rich. It's because of plain old statistics. The fact is, no one gets married thinking of their divorce. Yet, the divorce rate is what, like 50%? So to me, that says something. It says: Things change, people change, life doesn't always work out the way you want it to.
Trixie6 Trixie6 8 years
Great advice. I think the big thing is for you to be involved in what the prenup says. Don't let him (or his father) dictate the terms. Make sure you have input on everything. In the end, it's like Hills said, it's only money. Make sure you are treated fairly, sign the darn thing and move on.
hills hills 8 years
dearsuger sounds pretty spot on, just remeber not to let this hang on ur shoulders, do it and move on, at the end of the day its only money and as u said u love ur hubby 2 b so let that over ride the scaryness of this prenup. and tell him how u feel in a calm way to get it out in the open. good luck
Megg21 Megg21 8 years
Brilliant advice of how to handle a not so delicate situation. Definately lots of ponder. I love this bit of Dear Sugar.
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