You have spent many precious years of your life going to school, getting a degree, working hard to build your successful career, building a business, bought your own home to have a sense of financial security, and even planned your retirement.
Then, one day, you fall in love, and decide to get married, the person you’re marrying is not working, does not have a stable career or any career or business goals, maybe he/she is in debt, you’re not concerned with any of that, you have no care in the world, you’re just in love and going to get married.
From the moment you get married, the state government slips you a hidden contract that is very complicated and it takes an experience, $400 - $600 per hour attorney to review it. However, you never get to see what you just signed up for, it is a hidden complicated contract that you just agreed to as soon as you got married.
The contract said that the day you get married, all of the hard work you did throughout your life to become a good earner is taken away from you, now more likely 50% of everything you earn goes to your spouse, whether you have children or not, whether you contribute not only 100% financially, but contribute mostly to house chores and child care, it doesn’t matter, every penny you earn, at least 50% of it goes to your spouse.
And if the relationship becomes abusive or not tolerable, and you decide to leave the marriage, the hidden marriage contract the state gave you is so complicated, that more likely you will need to hire an expensive divorce attorney, spending $400 - $600 per hour, and by the state laws, you may also have to pay for your spouse’s attorney, totaling $800 - $1,200 per hour. Imagine, the attorneys had to wait three hours in the court until it is your turn, 3 X $1,200 = $3,600, this is just a one court day fee. In a contentious divorce, especially when the couples have children, there may be many many court appearance and counseling hours, you do the math. I had a friend who went through divorce and just the attorney cost was about $150,000 and he was only a small business owner.
The way the state family court system is set up, you may end up spending two, three or even four years in court, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get divorced.
And at the end, if you and your ex-spouse cannot come up with terms of who gets ripped off, a judge who is tired of hearing people fighting in the court is going to decide what will happen to your finances which that order can affect the rest of your life.
You may end up having to pay most of your hard earned income to child support and alimony (spousal support) as long as you’re alive.
If a dealer sells you a car, a home builder sells you a home or a bank gives you a loan without disclosing important terms of the sale, the state government will give that organization a huge fine, but the same state government passes you a hidden contract that from the day you get married, a good portion of your hard earned income is no longer yours and you may be obligated to support your spouse after divorce for the rest of your life.
And worst of all, when people hear your sad story of how you lost everything you worked so hard to earn, they will tell each other, “he married her” or “she married him”.
But wait … , there is more when it comes to finances … - You could be liable for your spouses debt and/or interest on his/her debt. - You could loose part or all of your pension. - You could be paying huge child support payments, but no one checks to see if any of the money you pay for the child support actually goes to help your child. And clearly, it is guaranteed that just a small amount of that huge child support payment goes to help the child, the rest of that payment goes to your ex-spouse’s pocket.
But wait … , there is more …issues other than finances …
After getting married, in large percentage of cases:
- After about 2-5 years of being married, the honeymoon phase is over, the attractions and intimacy substantially wears off, and in many cases, the marriage becomes sexless.
- One or both spouses realize that they got what they need because they are married now, the couples would stop taking care of themselves, they gain weight and don’t care about staying healthy and attractive for their spouse.
- The couples know that it would be very difficult to untangle themselves from each other because the divorce is a very difficult court process which can be very stressful, and could have unforeseen outcome; so, the couples start feeling comfortable to behave in abusive manner such as being hostile, verbally abusive, controlling, bossy and passive aggressive toward each other.
- Finally, the above situations causes resentments in couples; then the empathy and caring goes from 80% to 10% and below toward each other.
Living with a partner who has almost no empathy toward you would be very difficult.
So, what would you do if you want to have a family and children?
Firstly, in my opinion, if you don’t want to have any children, you should not get married under today’s ridiculous marriage laws that are written by a few incompetent politicians and lawyers who did not think through the laws that they were putting together.
We know for a fact that children would be in much better physical and mental health when they are raised in a healthy family environment by both parents.
A healthy family environment is where the parents of the children are each other’s best friends, they care for each other, they are on the same page on how to raise their children together, so they set up a good example for their children.
If the parents are not caring or friendly toward each other, the children notice that and feel the negative environment and possibly mimic the same behavior in their future relationships.
So, going back to what to do if you want to have a family and children:
- Do some self assessment, figure out your true core values. Think it through to make sure having family and children is your top core value. If you want to have a family for having a blissful life, amazing sex, or financial security, think again, and re-assess your core values, because getting married and having children requires major commitment and responsibility, and patience. Having children could change your life because the parents who become very dedicated and positively involved in raising their children in the right way will find a true meaning of life, which is precious. And it is important to know that unless you and your better half have high level of emotional intelligence, you may not have the type of fun and blissful life that you expected to have by getting married.
- Learn emotional intelligence, learning to have empathy and kindness toward others will help you live a happy and blissful life with your significant other.
- It is important to know that although physical attraction is important, it will fade away between 2-5 years of being together, so be realistic about your physical attraction requirement in your future partner.
- Put a huge importance on making sure that not only you have emotional intelligence, your partner must have emotional intelligence such as the ability to empathize, a flexible thinker, have kindness, honesty and fairness.
- Set the realistic expectations before starting a family and even write it down in some sort of agreement to make sure you remember what you promised to each other in the future.
- There are people who say that prenuptial agreements are not romantic, but in my opinion, if you care about the person who you're planning to spend the rest of your life with, the right thing to do is to be upfront with him/her about your finances and family expectations such as:
- What are your assets and debts? If you marry someone who has not managed his/her finances well and he/she is in debt, you could be liable for your spouse's debts or at least all the interest that accumulates during marriage, so be kind to each other and disclose your financial situation to each other before getting married.
- What type of living arrangements are you expecting? Do you expect to live in an expensive house and drive an expensive car and dine in expensive restaurants? Or are you okay to live modesty and live within your means?
- How much do you expect your partner to contribute financially? Do you want him/her to share half of his/her assets with you after the marriage? How much are you going to contribute financially? Are you interested in sharing the interest in your assets with your partner?
- Do you expect your partner to contribute in a certain amount to house chores, cooking, shopping and childcare for the family? Are you going to contribute in a certain percentage to the house chores, shopping, cooking and childcare for the family?
The main purpose of prenuptial agreement is for two people to write down what they expect from each other so there is no misunderstanding in the future.
So, if you're going to get married, maybe consider writing down your current financial situation and all of your family expectations in writing using a prenuptial agreement. This will require hiring an attorney, but it could cost much more in attorney fees if two people get married without prenuptial agreement and go through divorce without a prenup.
It is good to note that people's value change so there is no guarantee that two people that are getting married will never get divorced. That is why today's divorce rate is about 50%.
Also, do not get desperate and sign a prenuptial agreement that you do not feel good about signing. If two of you cannot come up with an agreement that covers how to contribute to the family and whether you're going to share assets with each other or not, then in my opinion, it is best not to get married to that person because if you cannot agree on things now while you're in a honeymoon phase, you will be fighting over so many things in the near future after the marriage.