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Help! Agreeing a Pre-Nup is destroying us

  • gravitino
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26 May 12 #333115 by gravitino
Topic started by gravitino
My fiancee and I have been together for some 18 months. We''ve helped each other through our divorces, and we happily collaborated on each other''s wills and a co-habitation agreement. Now we''ve got engaged and we''re finding the creation of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement highly destructive.

Firstly, my fiancee, as the more wealthy partner, is the one who is insisting on the agreement. Without a PNA, she says, she will not get married. I have been less keen, but have gone along with the project in the spirit of lifelong learning. However the more we get into it, the less I like the process, and I worry that the less I am going to like the finished product.

Secondly, the construction of the PNA has been divisive from the start. Whereas we built our co-hab agreement together, only getting our solicitors involved towards the end of the process, it has seemed inevitable that the initial draft PNA has had to be created by the solicitor of one party. And as you might expect, in our case it has been the wealthier party whose solicitor has drafted and driven the process.

The resulting work-in-process is an overlong, formal document more resembling an employment contract than a deed of marriage, and containing all sorts of statements which might please the lawyers but aren''t really true. ''The parties have discussed the possible breakdown of the marriage'' -- well, no, we haven''t in any meaningful way. We''re in love, we want to get married, and we''re not going to discuss the implementation of our divorce! ''The parties are entering into the terms of this Deed freely and voluntarily without coercion, influence or pressure'' -- well, no, I''m not. ''This Deed contains the whole agreement between the parties and neither has entered into it on the basis of any representations which are not expressly included in it.'' Again this is rubbish -- people enter into a marriage with all sorts of additional, unspecified desires and hopes for mutual help when times get difficult, for example.

The whole contract seems to assume that the two of us are going to enter the marriage with completely separate assets, and that we will leave the marriage with separate assets, and there will be little, if any, mingling and co-creation of assets in between those two dates.

I feel the general principles of our marriage could be written down on a single sheet of paper.

However my partner has already spent more than £1,000 on getting her solicitor to draft this nine-page monster. The solicitor has drafted it so that it is, in my view, strongly in my partner''s favour, which means that I am dreading having to hire my own solicitor (who, the draft Deed already insists, must specialise in matrimonial law), and presumably match her level of legal expenditure. As the poorer partner in our relationship, I can ill afford such costs. My motivation to do this is low, despite my fiancee saying she won''t marry without a pre-nup, because I am finding the process so combative, and even her son has advised her that pre-nups are not legally binding.

I feel the pre-nup is locking us into all sorts of formal agreements which don''t represent the current state of affairs and are unlikely to reflect the way we ever behave towards each other.

In short, the pre-nup is taking all the romance out of our marriage hopes.

What should we do?

  • Canuck425
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27 May 12 #333220 by Canuck425
Reply from Canuck425
Why get married?

It hurt my brain to read your whole post. Getting married is supposed to be really fun. This sounds awful...

  • scaryspice
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27 May 12 #333228 by scaryspice
Reply from scaryspice
Have you discussed your feelings with your fiancee?
Communication is THE most important thing in a relationship.
If you can''t tell her your feelings ,what hope have you got for the future .
As Canuck says ,why get married ?

  • mumtoboys
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27 May 12 #333231 by mumtoboys
Reply from mumtoboys
well, from my perspective, I get it. I get the need, after a difficult divorce from a financial point of view and three children who''s futures I now need to do my best to protect (''cos the ex isn''t going to do it), to try and protect what she now has. I get the need to do that over and above any romantic, happy notion of marriage because if my romantic, happy first marriage could end so miserably, so could my second!

A medium to long term second marriage could mean, if my first experience is anything to go by, I would lose a good portion of what I have now - and with it any possible future financial security for my children. If there is anything I could do to protect that then I would, and I would swallow the cost of the legal advice to get there.

I know that''s an unpopular view of preparing for marriage - the ''what if it ends'' preparation - but it''s also very practical with the benefit of experience and some hindsight. If we''ve been divorced, cheated on, lied to and generally...oh I don''t know, abused in this process, doing what we can to alleviate the impact of that happening again is surely sensible?

  • hawaythelads
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27 May 12 #333232 by hawaythelads
Reply from hawaythelads
I don''t blame her mate.
It''s a fxxxxxx pxxxtake seeing someone waltz off with all your money if you do divorce.
Women have a far greater sense of entitlement anyways.So you are absolutely knackered when you marry one what''s got more money.They protect their assets.It''s not how it''s meant to work.
Just don''t bother getting married you''ll never hear the last of it anyways.
I would never give up my financial independence ever again.That marriage contract is the most powerful financial contract on the planet.
Sign this and half of everything you have ever earnt the other person can claim against even if they cheat on you.FECKING MADNESS!!
Just stay living together.Then you genuinely know your both together for love and not money.
All the best
Pete x

  • Gloriasurvive
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27 May 12 #333239 by Gloriasurvive
Reply from Gloriasurvive
I NEVER thought for one minute prior to us marrying about a pre-nup. My husband was the love of my life and would never cheat on me or emotionally cause harm to our children, he would always protect us! He would always be there for us....
Well 16 years on I''m in a financial pickle, struggling to make ends meet.
My X a self-employed, hands us a pittance a month, as he is on such a low wage! Yeah, right! He has rights to my pension and half the house, that I put the £60,000 deposit down for. He swans around in a merc and has a boat.....
I NEVER saw that coming. :ohmy:
So if you are asking, I would tell my partner how I felt, but still have the agreement, and take no offence to the solicitors wordy jargon, it''s all formality.
Protect yourself and your partner annd hopefully the agreement will never have to come into practice. Good Luck.

  • jjones123
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27 May 12 #333245 by jjones123
Reply from jjones123
I nearly posted earlier, but couldn''t find the right words.

I''ve heard it said that a marriage is like a contract with three parties: yourself, your partner and the government. I''m not ruling out getting married again in the future (I''ve got a really long way before that happens, though!) but I would think very long and hard about it beforehand, for similar reasons that others have mentioned, but mainly giving up my own financial security (which felt as if it was being taken away from me, through no fault of my own).

It struck me that there are other ways to indicate commitment to another - and the most obvious is having a will (I know this sounds like a pretty morbid idea, but it''s a practical one). A marriage certificate is, in my eyes, a big version of a will that also takes care of the death of a relationship without taking into account nuances of individual circumstances unless you spend a fortune on legal fees (which nobody wants to do).

Plus, if you ''will'' your life to someone, you can just tear it up and write a new one in a jiffy if things go wrong.

A thing that I nearly posted the last time was: ''what is your instinct telling you?'' Go with that - it''s almost always right.

Good luck,

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