March 05, 2007

Quotent Quibbles

by Armen

I apologize for the delay. I was hosting a friend during a gorgeous weekend in the Bay Area (high 68 degrees) that included biking across the Golden Gate. I'm posting this while Prof. Estates and Trusts is discussing waiving community property rights. I've had this discussion with many women and very few have given a sympathetic response, but here it is agian.

I'm a firm believer in prenups. It's just absurd to assume that a marriage will last forever. No one can possibly know. So if that's the case, why not prepare for that eventuality? The analogy I draw is to life insurance. Sure you can safely assume that you will live long enough until your loved ones are self-reliant (putting aside the tax advantages). But why do that? Putting aside mandatory state laws, you can also assume that you will always be a safe driver and forego car insurance premiums. Certainly most homes don't burn down. Well you get the point. I'm mostly concerned about avoiding unnecessary fighting. But the more I think about it, as a domiciliary of California, I probably want to distribute my assets more generously to my family than state law would allow. The hard part, of course, will be in convincing a g/f or a fiancee about the wisdom of all this. That's where Kanye West's "Gold Digger" comes to the rescue:

She was spose to buy ya shorty TYCO with ya money
She went to the doctor got lypo with ya money
She walkin around lookin like Michael with ya money
Should've got that insured GEICO for ya moneeey

If you aint no punk holla 'We Want Prenup'
It's something that you need to have
Cause when she leave yo ass she gonna leave with half

I certainly want a prenup.

March 5, 2007 02:50 PM | TrackBack

The saner sort of prenups (i.e. ones that don't involve "if you cheat, you get nothing; if I cheat, I'll pay you $100k") just seem like a private version of federalism. Given the variety in state laws on default divorce rules, many prenup agreements probably would be the default in one state or another, but you never know where you'll end up divorcing. They also allow the couple, if they have multiple residences or have separated to different states, to avoid fighting over choice of law. (I wanna have all my fights over choice of law while I'm still married, or maybe while picking a place to get married.)
If my fiance proposed a prenup that simply contained the default rule existing in a state -- whether it was a community property 50/50 split, a take-what-you-brought-in and 50/50-split-the-rest, or whatever -- I wouldn't be offended. If it's good enough for the public policy of California, Alaska, etc., it's good enough for me. On the other hand, if he drew up an elaborate set of monetary rewards, punishments and bribes, that would end the marriage preemptively.

But of course, male law students who plan to make lots of money and have someone else be the primary domestic caretaker will tend to have a different perspective on all this.

Posted by: PG at March 6, 2007 02:02 AM

Well Community Property is generally 50/50 of whatever both earned after the marriage. Even if I'm Nick Lachey to Jessica Simpson, I wouldn't want this. Maybe if I create a trust, and then get her to agree that the trust will not be part of any divorce proceedings, I'll be home free. Right? Riiiiiiiiiight?

Posted by: Armen at March 6, 2007 03:48 AM
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