The cultural idea of the prenup is something that protects a man’s hard-earned assets from a conniving woman hoping to hit a payday in a hefty divorce settlement.
When we think of prenuptial agreements, we usually picture a well-off man thrusting paperwork in his poorer fiance’s face, telling her she needs to sign off or he won’t marry her.
Women Hate Prenups
This standard view of prenups makes women hate them. Women believe in the romanticized notion of marriage, where it’s the couple against the world and that they’ll be together forever.
Of course, their fairytale bubble gets popped at the very mention of the term “prenup.” It invokes a feeling of distrust and makes them feel like their partner may not be as committed as they are.
Women Should Want Prennups Even More Than Men
The truth is that women are far more vulnerable in marriage and divorce than men. If anyone should demand a prenup, it should be the woman.
Numerous studies show that women’s financial outcomes from divorce are far worse than men’s. Women move down the economic ladder, lose their homes, and even fall into poverty post-divorce at far greater rates than men.
And yet, it’s the men who demand prenups and scream about unfair divorce outcomes.
Here’s why women must reconsider the prenup and what they must consider before signing it.
Prenups Protect Both Parties
A good prenup should protect both parties. Unfortunately, the person asking for it is usually more well off financially, and their interest lies in protecting their financial assets. But the lower earner also needs to protect themselves, especially if children enter the picture.
Pregnancy Impacts Women
The biological aspects of having children will never be equal. Only women bear the burden of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Ensure the prenup protects the mother’s health and wellness during pregnancy and recovery.
Consider the Costs of Having Children
Women must consider the burden of pregnancy and child-rearing in a prenup, and usually, they don’t.
Decide upfront if someone will stay home with the kids, and ensure the prenup protects that person by providing them a stipend, ensuring they get their own funded retirement account, and ensuring an equal split of earnings during this period.
Far too many men see their stay-at-home wives as an appliance, not a person sacrificing their own careers and earnings to raise children. Far too many women trust their husbands to have their best interests at heart, only to be thrust into poverty when he brings home a younger model.
Even Working Moms Suffer
Society punishes motherhood at every turn. Even working mothers face undue burdens while trying to juggle careers and parenthood. Working moms may need to opt for more flexible, lower-paying careers or may need to take extra time off to care for sick children.
Even those who don’t often get punished, losing out on promotions because of the stigma surrounding motherhood.
Consider Other Sacrifices
Many women sacrifice for their husbands for reasons outside children. When he gets a job on the other side of the world, she often quits her job to move with him, even if it means she’ll have to take a lower-paying position.
Women also do the bulk of the housework, both with and without kids, handle all social engagements, and care for both parties aging parents.
Women put a lot into marriage, so be sure to consider any of those potential sacrifices when creating your prenup.
You will need your own lawyer to draft up language to protect yourself in all these circumstances. The exact language will vary based on your individual circumstances, but every woman should ensure the prenup covers these possibilities and protects the mom.
What if He Scoffs?
Modern prenups rarely discuss pregnancy and child-rearing. They rarely offer protections to mothers who sacrifice their bodies and careers to raise kids.
A man who insists on a prenup may scoff at the very suggestion that a woman protect herself with these clauses.
If he does, don’t marry him.
You do not want to marry someone who refuses to recognize the massive sacrifice mothers make to raise children. You don’t want to marry someone who doesn’t value your contributions, even if they aren’t financial.
Presenting him with these clauses in the prenup will tell you exactly what kind of man he is. Does he see you as an equal partner worthy of respect and dignity, or does he view you as an appliance he can use and discard?
You want to find that out before you marry him, not after.