Prenups Are For Poor People » VSB

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Prenups Are For Poor People

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And by “poor people,” I mean me and you, of course: basically, regular people. I’m 100 percent sure that the likes of Kanye and Kim Kardashian aren’t reading my writings, but if they are, I need the Pirate Black Yeezy Boost 350s in a size 10. Thanks.

By definition, a prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into prior to marriage that can widely vary on terms and conditions. For most of us, though, we simply see it as a way to protect our shit. And by “our shit,” I mean assets, earnings and intellectual properties acquired prior to, during and after the marriage. I’m pretty sure this is an exact Johnnie Cochran quote.

Remember when it was all over the internet that Nas was kicking up more than $40,000 to Kelis in child and spousal support? Or remember even more recently when it was reported that Derek Fisher was going to pay $1.3 million in spousal support plus $180,000 in child support to his ex-wife Candace and we were all like, “What the fuck?”

The thing is this: Most of us won’t even make $1 million in 10 years, so thinking about giving that much away every year is unfathomable. I’m pretty sure Jay Z and Beyoncé have a prenup that will ensure that when all is said and done, they can still get a new Maybach every year and neither of them will have to move into a smaller mansion. (Side note: Jay and Bey were the pinnacle of black love right up until Lemonade dropped. Just let that simmer for a second as you continue to read.)  Let’s be honest—even if you’re married in a Kobe-Vanessa Bryant situation and you have to give up half of $300 million, you still have $150 million and you’re still rich.

Well, most of us don’t have shit, and half of nothing is still nothing, right? No; it’s wrong, dead-ass wrong. Half of your pension and/or 401(k) is very much something, especially if you can no longer afford to retire and you have to get a job at Target after 30 years with a good government job. Half of your two-bedroom condo is definitely something, especially if you can’t afford to buy your ex out so you have to sell your shit to pay them off. Half of your 2007 E-class Benz might only be $8,000, but do you have $8,000 to just give away? I’m assuming you don’t, since you don’t have shit and having shit would mean you’d have all this disposable cash sitting around to pay off your former spouse.

You see, the prenup actually protects the little bit of stuff you do have, along with the stuff you will possibly attain during and after the relationship ends. We non-1 percenters need that layer of protection that’s stopping us from moving into our brother’s house with his wife and two kids after the love is gone.

Your $75,000 salary is enough to keep you leasing a new 5-series BMW every three years, a week in Miami every summer, a boys’ weekend in Vegas when the mood strikes and a few pairs of Gucci shoes. You’re able to do all this dope shit and still keep the lights on. Life is good and you’re comfortable, but you’re so far from being rich. Now imagine forking over $15,000 a year in spousal support for the foreseeable future on top of draining out your savings to make good on that divorce settlement. Things are going to get a lot less comfortable.

We all plan to stay married forever, but plans change, especially when they involve two grown-ass, capable and able-minded people. Plus, forever is a mighty long time. These aren’t the marriages of our parents and grandparents where they really stuck it out through thick and thin. Nowadays, you got two uncles and an aunt with “good hair” who aren’t Granny’s kids and aren’t present in any of the family photos on the fireplace. The current divorce rate is about 50 percent, but would you bet half of your “everything” on the flip of a coin? I mean, that’s 50-50, too. Of course not; that would be crazy.

But your marriage will be more stable because you’re a good judge of character. You’re only going to pick your soul mate to jump the broom with. All those people in failed marriages got married for the wrong reasons or to the wrong person. That’s right, you know this is going to last forever. If you’re so sure of yourself and sure of your love, wouldn’t the prenup just be a piece of paper? Think of it as car insurance because you never plan to get into an accident, but just in case you do, you wouldn’t want to be without.

In short? Prenups: Because being 43 and eating Top Ramen for dinner and living at home ain’t the wave.

Jean DeGrate

Jean DeGrate is an Uptown DC native. Like most great thinkers of our time, he got his start writing on MySpace enlightening strippers and ratchets before they were a "thing". You can find him on the streets of DC looking fresh as hell in the case the feds are watching and clowning folks who think that means being Gucci down to the socks. And if you're looking for him on social media, the name's always the same - @JeanDeGrate.

  • Hugh Akston

    To the menz

    Don’t listen to this guy what he forgot to mention was jay’s net worth at 19 was broker than broke he was pushing cassettes on 5th avenue in broke town and now he’s at the top…

    Sure you may not be worth a million dollar now but who knows

    And when you make it big with that business venture or you sell your blog for a seven figure she gonna try to leave with half

    But you weren’t prepared for this because you read it somewhere you were too poor to get a prenup and now you’re crying in the corner because the lawyers got you by your bank account smh

    #morereasonforsinglehoodforever

    • HouseOfBonnets

      I mean I can’t disagree.

    • Scorpiogoddess??

      Agree!

    • Rastaman

      “Haf Eddie, haf!”

  • Glo

    Honestly, I feel like if you have an out, you’re gonna take it. It’s hard for me to fathom a couple with a prenup actually sticking it out.

    • Death is an out. Might as well get the prenup.

      • Tambra

        What if you both broke?

        • Scorpiogoddess??

          Get a broke prenup. You keep the whole milk. I keep the almond nuts? No?

        • NonyaB?

          What if you were both broke then you became rich? Slightly similar: Nick Lachey and Jesica Simspon. Apparently, her pops refused to let them do a prenup, which backfired because she ended up becoming much wealthier than hubby and had to pay serious moolah when they split.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            He’s my hero

            • NonyaB?

              LMAO

        • Prenup. Half of a billion is still rich. Half of of $30K is still broke. People with less money have more of a reason to protect it.

        • Question

          Are you both broke with equal amounts of debt?

          • Tambra

            Either which way.

        • LMNOP

          I don’t know a lot about prenups, but it seems likely that in an ideal situation, you’d both be broke when you married, but not by the time you divorced. I don’t know how they account for that.

      • L8Comer

        Lolol what? Hahh

      • NonyaB?

        Can’t even understand how you came up with this but it cracked me the fxck UP.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      I would rather be protected than sorry, I’ve been seeing some real messy stuff on both ends. Plus with the way some of these millennial 2016 ones are acting….. I don’t have time.

      • Question

        Especially if you don’t get married in a community property state…

      • Blueberry01

        I know a couple that went to court on who’d keep the dog. They ended up with a visitation agreement (e.g. she had him on weekends, him during the week)

    • Val

      Right. I’d like to see a study to find out the divorce rates for couples with and without a pre-nup. I tend to think those without have more successful and longer marriages.

      • Question

        I think folks are only thinking of prenups in terms of “leave with what you came with”. Prenups can include anything. What about stipulations like education expenses for children should be proportionate to relative levels of income? Or money provided as a result of taking career time off to raise children?

        • rhymeswithbrucelee

          Many older couples are entering merriages with prenups because they have children from a prior marriage who they want to have the majority of their assets when they pass on.

          • Tambra

            I don’t blame them. There is some column which I read from time to time and there is a common theme among older persons of one spouse trying to shaft the children of the partner upon the partner’s death, even with wills cos loopholes. Sometimes it is just to protect your heirs too.

            • Question

              Men tend to focus where they are at. In other words it’s not uncommon for men in their second marriages to focus on the products of that marriage and focus less attention on previous relationships.

        • mssporadic

          Depending on the state, child support may be taken into account but the court has a lot of discretion in that area.

          People need to understand what their state will enforce. You can write what you want in the prenup, but some things the court will dismiss because it’s not applicable (per law).

          • charisma_supreme

            I’m curious. What does the court tend to dismiss?

            • mssporadic

              Child custody/support issues may be viewed separately. Thus, you may include those items in the prenup but the court has a lot of discretion when it comes to kids. The best interest of the child is going to trump whatever you agreed to in the prenup.

              Basically the court gives deference to a prenup, but the court still has discretion.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Too many folks getting married cause they in love.

        That individual thinking is how the community gets into trouble.

        *hoteps out of post*

    • NonyaB?

      Having someone stay because they’re too angry/mean to split assets doesn’t mean they’ll automatically try to work it out and you’re just committing to being unhappy by staying. It also doesn’t mean they won’t still leave. Prenups aren’t indestructable (they’re sometimes successfully contested) but it does increase chances of dirty fighting, depending on wealth level, who initiated the divorce (wealthier partner/not), etc. Lots of “it’s cheaper/less scandalous to keep him/her” marriages out there, but ain’t no smiley faces in ’em.

    • Question

      Y’all are watching the wrong tv shows. I have friends who have very female friendly prenups who are on equal financial footing with their hubbies. Even if nothing comes of it, having the conversation could be a good start to talking practically about children, their education, career sacrifices when the wee ones are small etc.

      Even if nothing comes of it, I think it’s a conversation worth having, especially for black folks cuz like the OP said, half of a 401k plan and stock options can hurt. My friend and her hubby now divorcing met while we were all in school so her student loans are part of the burden of the marriage he is liable for.

      • Illumina

        i know more than a few women who are in their late fifties and early sixties who lost half of their retirement in divorces and sold their homes. The kicker is one case was that he was cheating on her.

        The same woman is now using the risky 401k plan to try to make up for the money that she lost.

    • Question

      How are prenups an out? Doesn’t that depend on what’s in it? (I feel like a broken record). You’re worried about cheating, throw a clause in there about cheating. You know he has a tendency to make big purchases with little thought, so throw that in there too. You planning on taking a year off to raise some kiddos, throw that in there. Or at the very least TALK about those things.

      • Blueberry01

        “Or at the very least TALK about those things.”

        DING.DING.DING. You find out so much if you talk AND listen.

        I’ve realized that deceptive people hate talking (and email/texts because receipts), so if they are reluctant to talk about things that are important to you, it’s a MAJOR red flag.

  • Shooot…
    We ended without a bang, a firecracker. not even a pop rock. She did get the “good car” and I got the beater to drive around. HeII, we even went out more after we separated.
    The twist?
    I swear to God that I didn’t hire the guy that t-boned it the SECOND she stepped out of it one day.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    I read this post and thought of this song immediately!
    https://youtu.be/KvRKzgw_p1Y

    • Nobody posted Gold Digger

      • Tambra

        My thought ran to an old calypso. No money no love, of course that highlighted another social issue, domestic abuse.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        I mean, since you bring it up…
        https://youtu.be/6vwNcNOTVzY

  • Buster Cannon

    Eh, if you feel like you need a prenup, you probably shouldn’t be getting married in the first place.

    *sips chai tea*

    • miss t-lee

      For real. Just jump in the dayum pool, already.

      • Tambra

        So cold Miss, so cold.

        • miss t-lee

          I’m so sincere.

          • Tambra

            Hehehe, don’t mean it aint cold.

            • miss t-lee

              The truth is always that way…lol

      • Scorpiogoddess??

        Which pool?!?

        • miss t-lee

          Figure of speech, madam.

          • Scorpiogoddess??

            Lmaooo.

            • miss t-lee

              Folks hemming and hawing about pre-nups, when if you’re really about that life, you’ll just do it.

              • Scorpiogoddess??

                I’m hemming and hawing too. Guess what if I don’t sign that prenup and your worth a zilli I’m fighting for half a zilli because, petty! Because my kids ain’t going to live any different than when we separate. But mostly petty.

                • miss t-lee

                  Hey…whatever’s clever.

                  • Scorpiogoddess??

                    Yap.

    • Tambra

      Not sure if I agree with you on that point.

    • RaeNBow

      for someone who was entering a marriage with children, i might could see it making sense for them though #devilsadvocate

    • Scorpiogoddess??

      Let’s be real. If you are making x amount of dollars, I as your fiancée will ask for a prenup

    • HouseOfBonnets

      I disagree.

      • Tambra

        Concur. People change. Come see me and come live with are two different things.

      • Medium Meech

        Then why get married? It’s basically a legal partnership between 2 individuals. And it’s not required to have a wedding.

        • HouseOfBonnets

          I mean there are still legal/goverment/tax benefits that I would want that you can’t get 100 percent covered depending on where you live….so we can make it official at city hall for that.

        • Question

          Because marriage requires unequal sacrifices at unequal times and I don’t think people realize that going in. Said differently, I didn’t.

          I don’t know that I advocate necessarily the prenup but you should at least have the conversation and if the idea of the conversation gives you pause, I would argue that’s a bigger case for not getting married than having the conversation even if nothing comes of it.

        • HouseSublime

          Literally dozens of reasons.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States

          A pre-nup doesn’t spell doom for a marriage.

    • NonyaB?

      It’s an awkward topic but there’s nothing bad in risk management. Best case scenario: We don’t divorce, never need it, no harm done. Plus, pretty sure none of the couples that split knew they’d would when getting married, yet they did.

    • But if you don’t get married then you’ll be wasting time. Or shacking up. Or sinning. Or…

      • Buster Cannon

        One reason why you properly vet the other person before considering marriage. If their values don’t align with yours, get out of there and don’t stick around.

        • I’m being facetious. I don’t think marriage is for everyone. However, some people get shamed into matrimony and it’s sad.

        • grownandsexy2

          Marriage counseling should be a requirement just like a marriage license. There were 10 couples at my niece’s church, all engaged to be married. Marriage counseling was a requirement if you wanted to get married in the church. They all went though counseling – none are getting married. They all admitted there were a lot of things they hadn’t thought of/thought through.

  • Eh, screw a prenup. Besides, I ended up losing most of my assets during the marriage. I held on to my child and my intellectual property rights. I think I did OK without a prenup.

    • RaeNBow

      eeeyiiiikes.

    • Who goes into it knowing they need one until they needed one?

      • Blueberry01

        You mean like buying car insurance after you get into an accident? Health insurance after you get sick? Home owner’s insurance after you have a flood in the basement?

    • LMNOP

      I think when you can look at your life after getting divorced and be grateful for the ways it’s improved, you’re winning.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Look if mjb, Oprah, Shonda Dimes and Nikki Minaj have taught me nothing else it’s to protect your assets. Some of y’all may think it’s petty but nobody is about to come at HOB for half of anything she’s built you better hit up the Ramen noodles and value cities you’re used to…. Besides the wonder twins already called dibs.

    *also it should be noted that I’m a Capricorn, yes this does matter. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9d01fd49d6dcd8de7b9a5196e2acd9bc629f486eeb016baca4d99580939260df.gif

    • miss t-lee

      Shonda? What happened with her?

      • HouseOfBonnets

        She decided that marriage wasn’t the move for her via Oprah. Not mad at it at all.

        • Tambra

          Not everyone cut out for marriage, just as not everyone is cut out for parenthood.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            THIS!!!!

        • miss t-lee

          Um…I didn’t remember her with anybody to begin with?

          • HouseOfBonnets

            She wasn’t but someone asked her in an interview and she answered it

            • miss t-lee

              Um…ok.

          • Illumina

            IIRC, she did mention a boyfriend in one of her interviews. I guess that is as far as she is willing to take it.

            • miss t-lee

              Thanks for that. I wasn’t aware. I knew she had adopted kids, but never knew anyone was in the picture.

          • charisma_supreme

            I read (well, listened to via Audible) her book “Year of Yes”, and she addressed this. Really enjoyed her book.

            • miss t-lee

              Gotcha. Thanks.

    • Deeds

      MJB? Isn’t Kendu asking for a ridiculous amount of money? Or is it just no way in h#ll that he will get it due to a pre-nup.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        He is but he is contesting the prenup due to a lawyer not being present….I look at MJB and Nikki as worse case examples from their experience.

      • mssporadic

        He wants her to pay his child support for kids he fathered prior to the marriage. I can’t even!!!!!

  • kingpinenut

    Bruh you speakin straight gospel

  • Medium Meech

    I get wanting a pre-nup, may even support it. But it leads to a serious question, really, what’s the point of legal marriage in today’s society?

    • rhymeswithbrucelee

      Children, taxes, benefits, legitimacy, immigration, inheritance….

      • Medium Meech

        Most people these days end up paying more taxes. If you make around the same amount it hurts you tax wise. Only helps if one person is basically a stay at home parent. Children, I’m not following. Benefits you don’t need to be married anymore and inheritance can be handled with a simple will along with power of attorney. Legitimacy, no you’re on to something.

        • HouseOfBonnets

          Unfortunately many who go the unmarried route don’t necessarily take or even discuss those precautions…a lot of the time it doesn’t come up until presented.

        • rhymeswithbrucelee

          The tax code is certainly set up for one working spouse and one stay at home spouse, which does actually discourage (mostly) women from working in some circumstances. But if one of you loose your job, get sick, stay home to take care of family, or go back to school then there is a tax advantage. There’s also your spouse’s health insurance, car insurance, social security. There is major tax benefits at inheritance time.

          • Medium Meech

            Again, most places you don’t have to be married anymore to get on your partners health insurance. You’re absolutely right about inheritance between spouses and assumption of retirement accounts into your name. But seeing how most Americans don’t really have retirement savings or any other kind at all, and most don’t even know about these benefits, and the risk of divorce is so high, are these really the things that people think about when deciding if they want to get married? Is this the calculus that runs through her head when she sees the ring?

            • Hugh Akston

              I didn’t realize how real that was until a few years I was volunteering with one of those “do you tax for free” org I was surprised how many folks didn’t even have a savings account

              It’s worse now as I’m seeing folks ready to retire and don’t know how they going to pay the bills and live comfortably

      • Kylroy

        All this. (Wealthy) Gay couples were trying to legally patchwork the benefits together for a decade or more until same-sex marriage was legalized; there’s a *reason* they pushed for it.

        • Medium Meech

          Gay couples are a different issue. Civil unions fixed all the legal barriers that but they still pushed for marriage. It was a bit deeper than that.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            Depending on where Civil unions were passed they did vary from state to state.

          • mssporadic

            Civil unions were not recognized across all states. So you could marry in State X, but if you moved to State Y which didn’t recognize CUs then you were screwed.

            • Medium Meech

              The idea at national level was balked at. Civil unions were a concession that didn’t acknowledge the underlying bigotry that Gay people aren’t worthy of marriage or the institution which is why they were necessary in the first place.

              • mssporadic

                It may have been balked at nationally, but we are talking about state law. The union became fluid once you crossed state lines, so your notion that “civil unions fixed all the legal barriers” is incorrect.

                • Medium Meech

                  Nah, maybe that’s the detail you wanted to focus on, but your notion that the fight for gay marriage was as simple as legal protection is incorrect.

                  • mssporadic

                    I’m not discussing the fight for gay marriage. I was disputing the notion that civil union was the same as marriage, and thus, why should people get married anymore.

                    The fight for gay marriage is quite complex, and I have no comment on that.

    • miss t-lee

      I feel like y’all ask this question when y’all already know the answer.

      • Medium Meech

        I fell like people don’t ask themselves this question enough and just go with the flow.

        • miss t-lee

          Nah.
          Folks who want to be married, know the answer to this.

          • Medium Meech

            Lol, I guess. Most folks get married because that’s what you’re supposed to do.I say this as a proponent of marriage.

            • miss t-lee

              I don’t think folks get married because they’re “supposed to”.
              They get married because they want to. Doing things just because you’re “supposed to” hasn’t quite worked out well for most.

              • Mr. Mooggyy

                Do you know how many marriages came out of…”I got her pregnant, I might as well”? Or I’m about late 20’s, early to mid 30’s, pushing 40’s…..I should be married by now. I’m going to settle down because I’m getting to old! That’s getting married because you’re “posed to”!

                • miss t-lee

                  LOL
                  Are they still married?

                  • Mr. Mooggyy

                    We agree that those marriages are not the most successful! But folks do get married because they are supposed to do so (see society)!

                    • miss t-lee

                      Ehhhh. Some, not all.

                    • Medium Meech

                      Stop trying to throw salt on my plan to get Serena to marry me sans pre-nup.

                    • mssporadic

                      Her father will never let that happen!

                    • miss t-lee

                      Good lucky, buddy.
                      no salt here. ?

                • RaeNBow

                  just had a convo about this. the “she’ll do”/”he’ll do” marriages

                • Tambra

                  That one I know bout well the age thing. A friend of mine spilled the beans while quite drunk that he got married because he figured it was time and had a list of persons who he thinks are suitable. At the moment, per him, he is quite miserable but do not want to leave because of kids.

                  • Brooklyn_Bruin

                    Glad both them chicks left me before the music stopped. Glad to report that they’re making some other guy unhappy.

                    • Tambra

                      He was like oh when he was doing marriage counselling, his wife expressed reservations and he was ready at that point to cross her name off the list and move on the the next suitable person. And I my mouth was to the ground at that point. And that is another reason why I come up with an excuse almost every time he suggest we make a lime together , even though sometime I really want to go out.

                  • miss t-lee

                    And, that’s exactly what I was talking about

                • Medium Meech

                  We ain’t getting no older girl, we might as well do it…

              • Medium Meech

                I think we’re on the same page. Half the people who get married get divorced. Half the ones that don’t aren’t necessarily happy. So it seems like a lot of people might be going with the flow.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Long story short to legally tie up joint assets,have someone for council in case you’re gravely ill and a partner for the kiddos.

    • rhymeswithbrucelee

      Seeing as I probably won’t be married until I’m closer to 40 than 30, I’d think about doing a prenup. All the cash I stashed away in retirement accounts and index funds for ten years of corporate life, plus any property I may have bought on my own before we even met….yeah nah you don’t get half of that.

      • Medium Meech

        Well, your spouse really isn’t entitled to what you acquired before the marriage, it’s from that point forward. A lot of folks miss that.

        • Kylroy

          Yeah, but a whole mess of cash can get spent arguing the finer points of that principle if there’s not a prenup already in place.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I have safety deposit boxes across the country registered to llc’s containing investment grade comic books.

    • Kylroy

      In the U.S.? Health insurance.

  • AJACs

    Then why get married? (Asks they guy who finally married his guy 13 years after being together when it finally was legal). Why draw up a second contract to undo the marriage contract? Just create a contract. Marriage means your spouse can make life and death decisions for you and you’re worried about your monies?

    • -h.h.h.-

      *insert the ‘why buy car insurance, are you a bad driver’ counter point here*

      • AJACs

        I don’t think the comparison is appropriate. Marriage is a contract. Pre-up is a contract. Car insurance is insurance that protects you from the unexpected. It’s a pay to play program where you put a little money in to cover accidents, usually, but not always, involving unknown drivers. Why sign a contract if you don’t like its most basic and fundamental terms?

        • Janelle S

          There is nothing about a prenup that interferes with the fundamental terms of a marriage. It is a document covering the potential end of the relationship, and may never be required. Just like insurance. You’re still going to laugh and fight with your spouse, regardless of the existence or contents of a prenup.

          • AJACs

            It does “interfere” with the marriage contract as it will redefine, limit, or remove, or outright remove community property (as one example based on the blog entry.) THAT is core to the marriage contract. Your laughing and fighting with your spouse are the touchy-feely side of a relationship.

            If you want the blessing of your church and friends in a ceremony, you can always do that and not have the preacher act as the agent of the state and sign the legal paperwork.

            I am astounded that after all the work gays have done to fight for marriage and describe why we wanted it for the legal and contractual benefits that so many folks don’t realize what they are executing when they get legally married.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      I don’t care if the Fed follows me online, I have nothing to hide

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