Will you sign a prenuptial agreement, darling?

I think what I’ll be touching today will be quite sensitive to some people, especially for those who truly believe that marriage should be solely based on love and trust alone. I apologize in advance if my opinion strikes some nerves.

I was having my usual breakfast at my regular kopitiam again, and saw a young couple who were just married but were bickering about Chinese New Year-where they should spend it at and how much money they should allocate for the coming celebration. And since this would also be their first time giving angpows, they would need to allocate more for the red packets, contributions for dinners and household expenses, and so, the wife voiced out her concerns, as she’s also pregnant with their baby. They were sitting next to my table, and I silently observe them and listen to their heated discussion with interest while waiting for my buttered toasts and tea.

The husband seems to be aloof with the wife’s concern about their financial status and demanded that it’s all right for them to spend a rather disgusting amount of money just to celebrate Chinese New Year as they are only celebrating it once a year while the wife is going against it, as she’s worried about recession as well as her impending motherhood. She told her husband that to spend moderately is fine, but since he’s planning to have quite a blast to celebrate Chinese New Year, she’s really going against it. She felt that it’s not right to take out money from their joint account just because he wanted to have a huge Chinese New Year Celebration with his family. She felt that the money in their joint account would be better invested if they spend on the baby’s education fund, insurance, buying house, etc. She strongly stressed that spending a disgusting amount of money for a celebration is completely a waste of money, and merely a short term gratification. She told him that if he wanted to have such a blast, then he would have to take it out from his own savings and salary, not from their joint account.

The husband flared up, saying that the money is also his, and he have the rights to take some sum of amount out as he also contribute to the joint account which she refute that he only contributed occasionally when he’s ‘feeling generous’ while she have her contributions automatically deducted from her salary every month. She then questioned him about the amount that he banked in into the account in a rather angry manner. He was effectively silenced, but muttered something that suspiciously sounded like “It’s your hormones talking” which she shot back with “Insufferable male, I should have made you sign the pre-nup”.

I had initially thought their bickering was quite funny, as married couples often fight during festive seasons. It doesn’t matter what festival the couple in question will be celebrating, but it’s quite common for husband and wife to argue where they will be spending their holidays at, how much will they spend after getting a bonus, whether or not a new car  is necessary, etc.

Sometimes, discussion over small matters can be rather disastrous. Some couple would divorce over financial matters, so, when the lady mentioned ‘pre-nup’, I thought it’s quite a clever but controversial solution to most marriage financial problems-as to most, pre-nuptial agreement is for those who have divorce in mind.

I would have to agree that nothing more could kill passion and romance more than pre-nuptial agreement. To some, it’s simply disheartening as well as a turn off. Some would say a marriage should be build on love and trust, and pre-nuptial agreement is for those who do not trust the partner. But, is it true that if you sign a  pre-nup, it meant that you do not trust your partner?

In a pre-nupt, both parties who are going to be married will be required to disclose all of their assets. Isn’t disclosing all of your assets to your future husband or wife is also a form of trust? Most husband and wife who do not sign a pre-nup also hide their assets from their spouse’s knowledge. Isn’t this a mistrust at it’s very best? If you are sincere enough, why would you want to hide your assets from your spouse and refuse to sign a pre-nup? You say one should not sign a pre-nup should be based on trust and people who signed one are having divorce in mind, but since you are hiding your assets from your spouse, aren’t you stashing some money too in the case of divorce or for the sake of your own enjoyment?

Frankly speaking, I think a pre-nuptial agreement can be beneficial to both parties if the agreement is done fairly and could possibly help avoid disastrous discussion about their assets and finance. Marriage is not only a sacred union between two hearts and soul, but it’s also a financial union. Pre-nuptial agreement can help save a marriage as it will help to ensure the financial health of one’s marriage. It is also a form of security to both parties. Everyone should remember that marriage is not only made of sugar and everything nice, but it’s also made of frogs and everything nasty. One should not allow passion and romance clouded their judgment regarding financial matters.

A pre-nuptial agreement can restrict from overspending on unnecessary things, and in case of a Muslim man taking a second or third wife, the first wife will not be held responsible or forced to share her assets with the co-wives. In some cases, some Muslim men would force the first wife to share her assests and property with the co-wives, and this is unfair to the first wife, as the property and assets belongs to her in the first place. Dear readers, pray tell, why should a woman share her wealth with another woman who stole her husband away from her? Shouldn’t a  husband and wife safeguard some money for the sake of financial security if anything untoward happens to their other half?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people about to wed that dictates how assets will be distributed in not only the event of divorce, but also death. Such agreements have existed for thousands of years in some form or another, particularly in European and Far Eastern cultures, where royal families have always made provisions for protecting their wealth.

However, you don’t need to be a an European royalty or even a rich guy to sign pre-nuptual agreement. You should consider signing a pre-nuptial agreement if:
• You have assets such as a home, stock or retirement funds
• You want to state on how you and your spouse should use the savings in your joint account.
• You may be receiving an inheritance that can only be used by your family bloodline.
• You have children from a previous marriage.
• One of you is much wealthier than the other.
• One of you will be supporting the other for education or business
• You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents.
• You are doing a risky business and you want to protect your spouse and children from being affected if your business failed and have been declared bankruptcy.

Actually, a pre-nuptial agreement is not only protecting yourself, but also your spouse and your children if it’s done correctly. A lawful and valid pre-nuptial agreement is usually fair and will look for equity to make sure one spouse is not being taken advantage of. Do note that things that’s not related to financial like parenting responsibility may also be included in the agreement, but it’s best not to make demands like “He have to quit smoking” or “She have to stop gossiping with her friends” in the agreement. A pre-nup should be a piece of paper that safeguard a marriage and protect both parties, not gives them stress and insecurities.

Cleffairy: If marriage is really based on love and trust alone, why the hell do you need to need to sign a marriage license or certificate? Wouldn’t it be better if you just take a vow and not sign anything? Wouldn’t that be more trusting as you love your spouse enough not to claim him or her as yours in the eyes of the public?

16 comments

  1. ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] says:

    Hi Cleffy!

    I read your email and so happy with it.
    Now, back to the post here.
    Right now, since I’m single and available, I’m totally agree with pre-nud.
    Simply because, it’s something which almost guarantee the security of a marriage. At least u will not feel anxious about the partner!
    LOL~

    I’m not planning to married yet, but, if one day I’ll be the bride, I’ll make sure my partner will agree to sign it.

  2. ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] says:

    Hi Cleffy!

    I read your email and so happy with it.
    Now, back to the post here.
    Right now, since I’m single and available, I’m totally agree with pre-nud.
    Simply because, it’s something which almost guarantee the security of a marriage. At least u will not feel anxious about the partner!
    LOL~

    I’m not planning to married yet, but, if one day I’ll be the bride, I’ll make sure my partner will agree to sign it.

  3. ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] says:

    Hi Cleffy!

    I read your email and so happy with it.
    Now, back to the post here.
    Right now, since I’m single and available, I’m totally agree with pre-nud.
    Simply because, it’s something which almost guarantee the security of a marriage. At least u will not feel anxious about the partner!
    LOL~

    I’m not planning to married yet, but, if one day I’ll be the bride, I’ll make sure my partner will agree to sign it.

  4. ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] says:

    Hi Cleffy!

    I read your email and so happy with it.
    Now, back to the post here.
    Right now, since I’m single and available, I’m totally agree with pre-nud.
    Simply because, it’s something which almost guarantee the security of a marriage. At least u will not feel anxious about the partner!
    LOL~

    I’m not planning to married yet, but, if one day I’ll be the bride, I’ll make sure my partner will agree to sign it.

  5. kellaw says:

    why so ganas? woke up on the wrong side of the bed?
    I had known of couples who stayed “married” without the cert. do you know that some guys will just start thinking about the idea of getting married once pre nup is mentioned? they wouldn’t want to be locked financially. i don’t know because I am not married yet nor planning to get married yet. hahahaa

  6. Josephine says:

    Wei, stop scaring me lah. I am getting married u know?

    I think although I will have join name account with my husband, but I wont put money in lor.

    My money is my money. hehehe
    Will his money become my money too? hehehe

  7. Celine says:

    Maybe I am too young to comment on this. But you know, I don’t really agree on signing on the prenuptial agreement.

    I don’t understand why marriages can be so easy and long lasting at my grandpa and grandma times, even my mom and dad times. But it gets so hard nowadays. I still believe marriage should be based on trust and love. Not some forms of agreements.

    Honestly, even without a prenuptial agreement, my financial status is very transparent in front of my bf. So do him. We both know how much money we got. Maybe he sayang me lar, so whatever asset he obtains, he will put my name as well.

    What I mean here is, if the man really loves you, he will do all the above automatically. Even after divorce. What for asking money from your stupid husband anymore after divorcing? You are divorced, you are free now, but you still using his money?? Sounds really weird for me.

    Anyway, that’s not the point. I understand the protecting kind of reason. That’s applicable for those women who has no ability to survive on their own feet, which I think, are rare in our society nowadays. Most of the girls are earning de same or more than their bfs. I won’t use his money in the future if I got divorced! I just won’t!

    From Celine
    21-1-09, 12.09pm
    * Just in case I change my mind in the future. This is just some comments when I am young Hahaha :D*

  8. amoker says:

    I do not think that pre-nup is the answer to love and faithfulness. the mere thought that it is just a paper that can be teared up would not motive couples to go beyond.

  9. Tera says:

    I like your controversy writings. I can’t help but to think with contradiction all the time. 😛

    I think pre nup is not necessary if you know both party well. Means that making sure you know your partner well before you decide to get married.

    I think its best to understand each other’s expectations in all aspects, not only financially but ambitions, goals, commitments in life and etc. It’s like matching it to your own expectations. If you cannot find an agreement or common ground in most things in the relationship then should try to consider to meet each others expection at least half way. If still cannot, then too bad lah.

    I don’t think much about marriage as I grew more mature (ehem). Its just a paper but yet if it’s the right dude, then it’s a sign of my commitment to him. Call me kuno lah, but I plan to be married only once. I still value marriage as something sacred that is not to be taken lightly.

    I observed that those in hollywood that doesn’t get married last longer then those did… Why is that so?

    I just googled this…
    History of Prenuptial Agreements:
    Nuptial agreements have been around for thousands of years. During the 19th century, before the Married Women’s Property Act of 1848, the agreements were necessary for women in the United States. Until the act became law, everything a woman owned or inherited was transferred to her husband. If he died or divorced her, she could lose everything.

    Warao eh…

  10. eugene says:

    My take is very simple, dont get married in the first place if you are already prepared for the worst, right ?

    Maybe, we have been inundated with too many unhappy endings, and the feud resulting from it, that’s why we say we need protection. I think pre-marriage HIV screening is anytime more important than pre-nup.

    Come on, marriages are meant to last and it is our responsibility to make it last. I have been married for 13 years, and i look for another 13, another 13, another 13 and another 13 to spend with the same woman i love, with that in mind,seriously i dont think i need pre-nup.

  11. cleffairy says:

    Zara… lol… wise choice…I also feel that a pre-nup is a good way to avoid arguments on financial matters in the future.

    Kellaw
    …I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed… actually, I didn’t sleep at all last night…that’s why so ganas. Was rushing a dateline. 🙁 Kellaw, a lot of ppl dunno that pre-nup actually gives the husband and wife more control over their own financial…so it’s kinda good for those people who still wanna have control over their finance without having their spouse dictating on what they can do and cannot do with their money. If you dun wanna let your future wife to spend your hard earn money on ridiculous stuff like a tiny LV bag or something, then a pre-nup is a good way to tell her that if she wants to buy things for her own gratification, she should use her own savings.

    Jo…aiyo… I din mean to scare you lah, Jo… seems like most of my articles oso scares you… Marriage is actually a bliss(but not all the time it’s a bliss)Jo… it’s a good thing if your money is your money, but his money is also yours. LMAO…Eh? When are you getting married ah? Invite me lah. LOL…(I need a reason to yum seng!)

    Kikey…married for 6 years(going on 7), I sometimes wished that my husband and I signed some sort of pre-nup.

    Amoker
    , it’s definitely not the answer to faithfulness and fidelity, however, I think it can stop certain couples from fighting over some financial issues.

    Celine… walao… you got write date summore to remind yourself that your wrote this as future reference. LOL… we’ll see if you change your mind in 5 more years to come. It’s not only for those women who could not make their own living, but also for rich tai tai where their husband is an owner of a huge company. Sometimes, ppl neglected to write will…pre-nup can also be used in the event of sudden death of spouse. We’ll see… actually when we get married, we not necessarily inherit or get all our husband property, as sometimes, it also goes to the outlaws…. like MIL, BIL, SIL, cousins, etc etc. Pre-nup makes sure that the spouse (husband/wife) are not being taken advantage of in the terms of finance and inheritance. It can actually serve like a will and avoids people from fighting over inheritance that they are not supposed to get. You see… sometimes people do not like to write will…they say it’s not necessary, or they are still young, or even say that they’re not rich enough to make a will. Little did they know that after one’s death, their loved ones would fight over their property. Pre-nup also comes in handy if a husband or wife did not prepare a will before their death. And Celine, it’s okay if your bf sayang you that he puts your name with watever property he obtains. Hopefully it will remain that way. Sometimes, things does not work that way with other women. Their husband loves them very much, but afraid to put their name in watever they obtained as they’re afraid of their family member’s objection. Have you ever heard of ‘evil mother in law’ stories and tales by married women?

    Tera… I also think of marriage as something sacred and wish only to be married once. One husband is more than enough. I used to think that pre-nup is not necessary, until I realize that money really matters in a marriage-especially if you have children to support and elderly parents to take care of. I lost count of how many times my husband and I argued about financial management, etc. Could have saved us from arguing about such matters if there was a pre-nup in the first place. And I realize, I’m not the only one who was placed in the predicament. I’ve seen a lot of couples discuss about money in a rather heated manner, that sometimes, is a downfall to their marriage.

    Kellaw…angpow ah? Wait til you get married and invite me to your wedding then I give you angpow. LMAO…

    Frizia
    , thank you for visiting and commenting.

    Eugene… actually, pre-nup doesn’t mean you don’t trust or love your spouse. It can also be served as a valid will in case of sudden death-where you did not even prepare a will for your wife or your family members. In a pre-nup, you don’t necessarily write that you will stay devoted to your wife. That’s usually the add-on in a pre-nup. In most valid pre-nup, it’s all about finance. In most common pre-nup, some will write- ‘My spouse cannot stop me from giving money to my mother/father. I reserved the rights to give them any amount I desire’ or ‘The children from my previous marriage reserve the rights to my property as well, etc etc’.

    Pete…. yeah, marriage can be a war zone when money matters are brought up. Like a nuclear war!

  12. Celine says:

    Haha, evil mother in law, that’s funny leh 😀 Yeah, pre-nup is a way to protect ourselves but STILL…I don’t want it to be in that way lor! Imagine when your bf proposed to you, everything is so wonderful and you look forward towards life being together. Then out of a sudden you mention about pre-nup, I dunno, I just dun wan marriage to be in this way 😀

  13. joseph says:

    I just broke up with my girlfriend because I wanted to discuss how to handle our money and I was just wondering what her plan was when we get married. but i think she had in mind already that i was raising up prenup as one of the topics in my discussion. I just told her i wanted to discuss money arrangements before it becomes an issue and she just dumped me before we even start talking. now I’m freee!!!!

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