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?
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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- When you earn your own millions, you agree to be generous with your husband.
- 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.)
- 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.