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Pre-nups with a twistFollow

#1 Dec 07 2011 at 4:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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So, as a paralegal, I'll come across some off the beaten path kind of tings. And here's one that took me aback:

There's a couple that is doing a pre-nup. First marriages for both of them and neither of them have kids. They're in their early 30s and both have worked on their careers since college. The future wife wants it stipulated in the pre-nup that when she takes time off from her career when they have children (and she's envisioning it to be at least 5 years per kid), she wants to be immediately compensated for that time off. Her reasoning is that her career will suffer adversely because she won't be able to advance, get raises, etc. So therefore, she should get a little something from her future husband to put into her own savings and investments so in case they do split up, she's still on the same monetary footing that she should have been if she never took time off to have kids in the first place.

The husband and attorneys' stance is "that's what spousal support and equitable division of assets are for." And I tend to agree with that.

But it did make me think. Women nowadays are waiting longer to get married, to finish their education, establish their careers, buy their own home, build their investments/savings. They definitely need to protect themselves, but is this going too far?

My take on it is, what if the husband becomes the stay-at-home dad instead of the wife? By all accounts, he should be the one compensated.

What about other similar situations where there should be compensation? They go back to college, switch careers, etc.?

Personally, trying to draft a pre-nup for every conceivable situation is neurotically insane to do. I'm getting a headache.
#2varusword75, Posted: Dec 07 2011 at 4:04 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) This is exactly what feminism and the left has always wanted.
#3 Dec 07 2011 at 4:14 PM Rating: Good
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I think she's taking it a step too far.

My feminism is I'm not having kids, period. Too many people in the world already, and both my husband and I much prefer cats.

This means I don't have any career blockages whatsoever, and I'll probably make more money than he does by the time we retire. Smiley: nod
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#4 Dec 07 2011 at 4:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:
My feminism is I'm not having kids, period. Too many people in the world already, and both my husband and I much prefer cats.


Wait a minute.... Are you my wife?!?

This has nothing to do with the left or feminism. It has to do with a greedy *****.
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#5 Dec 07 2011 at 4:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, I'm not too sure what to make of that. I'm glad she's she's thinking ahead and trying to protect what she has, but I don't even know how to begin thinking through all the 'lost productivity' from being a stay at home mom. That's the type of thing that compounds pretty quickly really. Hundreds of thousands of dollars easily over the course of her career if she's making reasonable wages, and a lot of hard to measure 'what-ifs' beyond the 'what if he stays home instead.' Once kids are in the picture it'll be harder to work, she'll likely be less productive, how much of that is his liability? Especially if he has her being on point for taking care of the kids even after she returns to work? How many promotions would she have gotten otherwise? Is it even conceivable to re-enter the profession after 10 years away? Ugh!

Can't help but wonder what's going through the husbands mind too.

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Personally, trying to draft a pre-nup for every conceivable situation is neurotically insane to do. I'm getting a headache


Yeah that... Smiley: lol

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#6 Dec 07 2011 at 4:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think it might go too far, but then again it might not. I honestly think it is better to talk about this stuff up front than to have to fight about it after things break down.

If feminism had succeeded already this sort of thing wouldn't be necessary because the burden of child rearing would be split more evenly.

Evidence is clear that women take a hit, both in terms of immediate loss of wages and in terms of long-term career growth and in their pensions because of taking time off to take care of children.

I don't really think it is unfair to ask to be compensated for those losses in the event a relationship breaks down - given that child-rearing is a joint responsibility, it isn't really fair to ask one party in the relationship to bear most of the burden.

Hopefully their marriage never breaks down, and honestly, I think by discussing issues such as these up front - it actually improves their chances of staying together for the long haul. In my opinion though these kind of discussions might seem crass or unromantic - it takes a lot of maturity to hash through these issues openly, rather than clawing at each other after stuff breaks down.

I am never having kids, but if I was, I would want to have this discussion myself.

EDIT

Oh... hmm just noticed the immediate thing. I don't think that is reasonable, I mean they are together, right? So they should be using their joint income to cover expenses at that point. It seems weird to want the money right away, but maybe she is just really insecure and wants to ensure she maintains financial independence. Still, that is a little over the top.

I understand making agreement ahead of time about compensation if there is marital breakdown, but wanting the money up front... yeah weird.

Edited, Dec 7th 2011 2:46pm by Olorinus
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#7 Dec 07 2011 at 4:42 PM Rating: Decent
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My question is why are they getting married?
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#8 Dec 07 2011 at 4:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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If you're career focused and expect your spouse to compensate you for having a child due to lost productivity at the workplace, I'm pretty sure the last thing you need to be putting effort into is having a child.
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#9 Dec 07 2011 at 5:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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So, will she be taking less alimony if they separate? I mean, if he's providing contributions to her to keep her on even footing, shouldn't that come into play when that question arises?
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#10 Dec 07 2011 at 5:17 PM Rating: Good
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I can see her side of it, but ONLY if:

1. They both want kids, or he wants them quite a bit more than her.
2. They BOTH want a parent to stay home, and they agree with the time allotment for it.
3. Neither of them particularly want to stay home.

If she WANTS to stay home, then it isn't his job to make up for her career. He isn't responsible for it. If, however, neither of them want to stay home more than the other, I can see why she might feel entitled to something for sacrificing her career for something they both want.

However, I don't agree with her way of going about it. She's demanding money from her husband for a personal savings account (with the intent of it being for her use) right when they are halving their income AND adding the exorbitant cost of a child? Nope, sorry, that's stupid. If she wants to stipulate that, should they divorce, she deserves a certain amount of alimony to balance things out, then it's one thing.

But the problem remains that whatever arrangement they come to should include an equal amount of labor for the family. If he's going to work 40 hours a week, and then they split the household work done while he's home equally, then he's been pulling his weight with regards to the family. It just doesn't hold that he is the reason she'd be behind in her career. Again, this is assuming that it's something that she wants, and not something she's being forced to do.

If it's come to this, then it's clear that they shouldn't be planning to have someone stay at home. She has to choose between being a stay at home mom or having a career at a more advanced stage. And for her to have any right to stipulate this, he has to be in a position where he is making the EXACT SAME CHOICE.
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#11 Dec 07 2011 at 5:27 PM Rating: Good
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Oh, and a question (if you know the answer), Thumbelyna. Are they planning to maintain separate bank accounts?

If that's the case, her having her own savings on the side is a little less weird (though not joining accounts is odd in its own right). Unless the savings she is talking about is a retirement fund?
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#12 Dec 07 2011 at 5:36 PM Rating: Decent
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If the husband-to-be has an ounce of brains, he'll leave the relationship now and save himself a lot of grief. Generally speaking, men get the shaft in a divorce involving children or substantial assets anyway, but this dumb ***** is trying to secure her piece of his pie before they even exchange rings. I fail to see how that situation can be viewed as anything but ridiculous.
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#13 Dec 07 2011 at 5:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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At least after the divorce she'll only be taking half his money. Smiley: rolleyes



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#14 Dec 07 2011 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Oh, and a question (if you know the answer), Thumbelyna. Are they planning to maintain separate bank accounts?

If that's the case, her having her own savings on the side is a little less weird (though not joining accounts is odd in its own right). Unless the savings she is talking about is a retirement fund?


Yes, they are planning to maintain separate bank accounts. They both own their houses as well with the plan that she will sell her own house and proceeds are going to upgrade and expand his house (his is in a better location). And that's her rub with wanting that compensation because she can't take advantage of her employer's retirement plan because she won't be working.

I still say this is asking for a bit much.

I've seen "milestone" markers in pre-nups, but never anything like this.
#15 Dec 07 2011 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
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Olorinus wrote:
If feminism had succeeded already this sort of thing wouldn't be necessary because the burden of child rearing would be split more evenly.


The problem is that it's pretty darn impossible to split that burden evenly. Trying to have both parents work and still have time to raise children is often less beneficial than simply having one work full time and the other either be a stay at home mom/dad, or work part time. You get about the same career advancement hit trying to work part time as you do not working at all, so it's really a choice between one or both parents taking that hit. Because of this, in most cases, one of the parents will take a career hit. Which parent that is should be a choice they make together.

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Evidence is clear that women take a hit, both in terms of immediate loss of wages and in terms of long-term career growth and in their pensions because of taking time off to take care of children.


Whomever ends out spending most of the time raising the kids does. The *** of the person isn't really the issue. And the courts already take that into account when divorce occurs, so I'm not sure why we have to make a specific "man vs woman" argument here. We could maybe look at the job market itself on the assumption that more women end out taking care of the kids than men because the man is more likely to be earning more when the choice of which parent should stay at home is made, but that's a big assumption. In a lot of cases, the woman *wants* to stay at home in preference to advancing her career, or didn't pursue a high salary career path in the first place on the assumption that she planned to marry and be a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, feminists rarely consider that not all women choose to make the same choices a hard core feminist would make, and this skews the statistics quite a bit.

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I don't really think it is unfair to ask to be compensated for those losses in the event a relationship breaks down - given that child-rearing is a joint responsibility, it isn't really fair to ask one party in the relationship to bear most of the burden.


As I said earlier though, this often isn't a choice. Employers are rarely going to be flexible enough to allow both parents to equally reduce their work hours to equally care for the kids, without both of them taking a serious hit to their career advancement. It simply makes far more financial sense to have one focus on work and the other focus on home.

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Hopefully their marriage never breaks down, and honestly, I think by discussing issues such as these up front - it actually improves their chances of staying together for the long haul. In my opinion though these kind of discussions might seem crass or unromantic - it takes a lot of maturity to hash through these issues openly, rather than clawing at each other after stuff breaks down.


Agreed. But in this case, it looks like they're both clawing at each other before they even get married. Having a discussion is one thing. Hiring attorneys to get the best deal in a pre-nup is something completely different. They aren't preparing for *if* a divorce happens. They're planning for *when* it happens. And that's rarely a good sign.
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#16 Dec 07 2011 at 6:15 PM Rating: Good
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If she wants to be insane, she should do it correctly. Treat it like a partnership.

Take her present salary and do a reasonably projection of what she could conceivably earn. That is her salary from the partnership. Her husbands salary from the partnership is the salary he earns, while his take home pay (should she give up work to raise a child) is the partnership's net income. Their present net worth are their capital contributions to the partnership, with an interest rate of their choosing if any applied to them. Divide remaing net income after salaries and interest expense on a 1:1 ratio (I assume that'd acceptable). All earning from the partnership are automatically reinvested into it.

Should they ever split up, divide up their assets according to their balances in their respective capital accounts. She gets an accurately reflection of what she would have earned if they never married minus an equal portion of any gains or losses incurred because of the marriage.

That's how you be insane, correctly.
#17 Dec 07 2011 at 6:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
If she wants to be insane, she should do it correctly.
Add a stipulation where if she agrees to birth and properly mother the children, if husband doesn't obtain a certain level of financial success then said children shall be eaten, cooked with a light duck sauce and served with a vintage red wine.
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#18 Dec 07 2011 at 6:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, no. This sounds like the relationship from ****, frankly.

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#19 Dec 08 2011 at 1:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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ArexLovesPie wrote:
This has nothing to do with... feminism... a greedy *****.


I laughed. I lost.
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#20 Dec 08 2011 at 2:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
If she wants to be insane, she should do it correctly. Treat it like a partnership.

Take her present salary and do a reasonably projection of what she could conceivably earn. That is her salary from the partnership. Her husbands salary from the partnership is the salary he earns, while his take home pay (should she give up work to raise a child) is the partnership's net income. Their present net worth are their capital contributions to the partnership, with an interest rate of their choosing if any applied to them. Divide remaing net income after salaries and interest expense on a 1:1 ratio (I assume that'd acceptable). All earning from the partnership are automatically reinvested into it.

Should they ever split up, divide up their assets according to their balances in their respective capital accounts. She gets an accurately reflection of what she would have earned if they never married minus an equal portion of any gains or losses incurred because of the marriage.

That's how you be insane, correctly.


The problem with this sort of partnership it's income projections work in the opposite direction of conventionally successful business partnerships.

If you run both at a salary from the partnership, when the partnership's net income is less than the either partner's salary, you have doomed this financial construct to an early grave. You should use the projected incomes (updated for accuracy roughly yearly) as a scaling factor for the split of the joint income, post joint consumable expenditures, and factor other non-joint investments separately. Joint investments should have the same contribution split as the projected income scales, so as to not create burdensome illiquidity for the member with the lower projection.

This isn't even insane.
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#21 Dec 08 2011 at 3:30 AM Rating: Good
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Hey TLW, want to get married?
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#22 Dec 08 2011 at 11:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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Hey TLW, want to get married?


All the tax incentives with a limited liability prenuptial contract? Count me in!
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#23 Dec 08 2011 at 11:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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Thumbelyna Quick Hands wrote:


Personally, trying to draft a pre-nup for every conceivable situation is neurotically insane to do. I'm getting a headache.
Kids or no kids is a pretty common situation and certainly a life-changing one though, and one that takes both parties to initiate.

If a couple is going to have a prenup I don't see where the woman is out of line to ask for full compensation for agreeing to take time out of her career to mother the children. While the man can't actually have the kids, he could become stay-at-home dad, in which case he would deserve like compensation for time taken out of his career.

There must be some formula to determine the monetary hit to a career due to an extended absence.



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#24 Dec 08 2011 at 11:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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ArexLovesPie wrote:


This has nothing to do with the left or feminism. It has to do with a greedy *****.
Maybe not - comparatively anyways. We don't know how greedy the husband may be but he's a willing party in a prenuptial agreement. It may even be a case where the man insisted on a prenub so the woman decided she'd better be well covered.
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#25 Dec 08 2011 at 12:18 PM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
ArexLovesPie wrote:


This has nothing to do with the left or feminism. It has to do with a greedy *****.
Maybe not - comparatively anyways. We don't know how greedy the husband may be but he's a willing party in a prenuptial agreement. It may even be a case where the man insisted on a prenub so the woman decided she'd better be well covered.


And we don't know how much he's pressuring her to be the stay at home mom. This might very well be her counter TO that pressure (which might not even be overt). If she's willing to marry him, it's likely a sacrifice she's willing to make. But if she's staying home because she's pressured into it, compensation for time lost isn't so horrible.

That said, I still don't agree with it while they remain married. But since they are maintaining separate bank accounts, there might be a reason for it. Maybe she wants the immediate compensation so she'd have time to invest it or something, which is why an increased alimony settlement wouldn't work.

Besides, not paying into a retirement fund for 5 years would be a pretty big hit to her finances. And since they ARE keeping them separate, this is something to legitimately worry about on her part.
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#26 Dec 08 2011 at 1:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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I wouldn't have a problem with the stay-at-home parent being compensated. I don't know if I'd go through it to this degree (not that I'm having kids, anyway), but being a stay-at-home parent is a huge amount of undervalued, uncompensated labor.
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#27 Dec 08 2011 at 1:55 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.
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#28 Dec 08 2011 at 2:24 PM Rating: Good
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ArexLovesPie wrote:
I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.


Why do you consider this case to be contrary to that?
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#29 Dec 08 2011 at 2:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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ArexLovesPie wrote:
I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.
So labor has no value?
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#30 Dec 08 2011 at 2:59 PM Rating: Good
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I'm of the mind that if two people are agreeing to get married and have kids and stuff, they're tacitly agreeing not to divorce.

The whole prenup thing blows that right out the winder.
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#31 Dec 08 2011 at 2:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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Sweetums wrote:
ArexLovesPie wrote:
I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.
So labor has no value?

I want compensation for stretch marks.
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#32 Dec 08 2011 at 3:12 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
ArexLovesPie wrote:
I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.


Why do you consider this case to be contrary to that?


I don't, I'm just stating my opinion on the matter. I probably could have worded this differently.

Sweetums wrote:
ArexLovesPie wrote:
I'm still under the impression that no matter what, if you both mutually decided to have children you both mutually assume the financial responsibility of it, not one or the other.
So labor has no value?


Labor has value, I agree without a doubt, but this is about financial responsibility after the birth. Regardless of who is the bread winner and the overall dynamics of the family, the financial burden is borne between the parents. Perhaps I'm far too idealistic in my views but I see a married couple as a singular unit when it comes to children, not Spouse X and Spouse Y.
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#33 Dec 08 2011 at 3:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm of the mind that if two people are agreeing to get married and have kids and stuff, they're tacitly agreeing not to divorce.

The whole prenup thing blows that right out the winder.


That sounds absurd to me. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Most of those have kids. EVERYONE I know whose parents stayed together for the sake of the kids ended up with worse home lives than if their parents hadn't had a loveless marriage.

Having a contingency plan in case of divorce already set up is only going to help the family transition to the new arrangement.

And, ****, consider THIS marriage with and without the prenup. Imagine if they got married, had kids, and THEN this stuff came up. That's a massive fight waiting to happen. And finances are one of the leading causes of disputes that lead to divorce. Getting those issues out of the way now just seems smart.

WAY better to talk it through now than deal with the massive fights it would generate when they actually get divorced. That's way more likely to mess with their kids' minds.
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#34 Dec 08 2011 at 4:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think it is a bit much but only since CA is a strong communal property state. I also wonder why they are getting married.
However I do understand wanting to protect your income, and as woman she will lose standing by having children.
If I was the man the marriage would not happen. If it did happen I would pay a surrogate to bear our children instead. It may be cheaper. :)


Edited, Dec 8th 2011 5:08pm by Jonwin
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#35 Dec 08 2011 at 6:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jonwin wrote:
I think it is a bit much but only since CA is a strong communal property state. I also wonder why they are getting married.
However I do understand wanting to protect your income, and as woman she will lose standing by having children.
If I was the man the marriage would not happen. If it did happen I would pay a surrogate to bear our children instead. It may be cheaper. :)


You could always stay at home instead. I'm going to assume that she's agreed to stay home for the sake of the family, not because she has any particular desire to stay at home instead of working. If that's the case, then it's legitimate for her to protect herself financially. I still don't agree with this idea of him paying into her account in case of divorce. But since it seems to be a retirement fund, it's more about keeping the two of them even. If they stay together and retire, I'm imagining they will continue to use those funds together. If they don't stay together, then her retirement fund doesn't have to take a hit even though her career did. She's still not going to have an income as high as she could have had.
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