We took to Reddit to read the stories of real-life couples and their prenup dilemmas. One such case comes from a 32-year-old husband who recently sought advice on r/AITAH Subreddit. Married for over two years, he and his 30-year-old wife entered into a prenup due to a large financial disparity between the two. The husband, hailing from a wealthy family, wanted to ensure his assets were protected, while the wife, from a lower-income household, agreed to the prenup without hesitation. After all, she loves him for him, not his money. However, as life unfolded and their family expanded, tensions arose. The long and the short of it is the wife wants him to revoke the prenup and he doesn’t want to. The husband is now grappling with the question: is he in the wrong for refusing to revoke the prenup?
The husband opens his narrative by shedding light on the economic differences that marked the early stages of their relationship. Citing family stories of gold diggers, he broached the subject of a prenup with his then-girlfriend, emphasizing that it was not about denying her access to his wealth but rather safeguarding his assets should they get a divorce. He explained that he is perfectly happy to share in his privilege while married. The wife agreed to the prenup, expressing love for him, not his fortune.
Fast forward to a year into their marriage, and the couple welcomed a newborn. The wife, initially working, decided to quit her job to stay home with the baby, a decision supported by the husband. However, a few months into her role as a stay-at-home mom, she requested the revocation of the prenup. Her argument was rooted in the sacrifice she was making for their family, putting her career on hold to raise their child.
The Husband’s Perspective
The husband counters her request by highlighting the financial support he provides, covering over 70% of their expenses. He reminds her that he actively participates in parenting responsibilities when at home and contributes to her retirement fund. In his eyes, the prenup remains valid, as her choice to stay home was her choice, not his, and he contends that her role as a mother should not be viewed as something she should be compensated for.
The Wife’s Perspective
From the wife’s perspective, the prenup that was once accepted willingly now feels like an impediment to her financial security. Having made the choice to step away from her career to care for their baby, she sees her sacrifice as a significant contribution to their family life. From her viewpoint, the prenup, which seemed fair in the beginning, now appears to undervalue her role as a mother. She argues that her decision to stay at home is a commitment to the family that goes beyond duty and should be recognized as such. The request to revoke the prenup is not just about financial entitlement; it’s about feeling appreciated and acknowledged for the vital role she plays in their family. From her standpoint, the prenup seems to cast a shadow over the genuine sacrifices she’s making for the well-being of their child and their shared life.
She wants the prenup revoked and he does not. The husband is left grappling with the question of whether he is in the wrong for not revoking the prenup. This complex situation raises broader questions about the intersection of love, finance, and family dynamics. The husband then turns to Reddit to seek advice from internet strangers. Turns out, he received over 3,500 comments on his post! Let’s dive into some of the responses from the Reddit community.
The Most Upvoted Comment
The number one upvoted comment said: “If this situation was not covered in the prenup you need better lawyers. Also, a prenup cannot waive away or nullify child support and in many states a judge can override it during the divorce if the terms are lopsided or abusive to one party.
As a compromise you should do a post-nuptual amendment to the prenup to reassure her that your kids and her will still be secure if something happens.” -@a_man_in_black
Essentially, this Redditor is saying that there should have been clauses included in the prenup for her if she became a stay-at-home parent (true). They also say that you can’t waive child support in a prenup (also true) and that a postnuptial agreement would be a good compromise (and true again). We agree!
HelloPrenup’s Response: Stay-At-Home Parent Clauses
HelloPrenup’s own CEO, Julia Rodgers, agrees that there are prenup terms you can include that cover a stay-at-home parent. One such clause is a wealth equalization clause. In relationships marked by substantial differences in financial status, especially when one partner transitions into the role of a stay-at-home parent, the inclusion of a wealth equalization clause in a prenup presents several noteworthy benefits.
First, it creates a perception of financial balance within the relationship. Through this clause, the spouse with less money, often the one who has quit their job, is entitled to a set amount of money in the event of a divorce. This clause aims to balance out any financial disparities stemming from their career-related decisions. This helps to ensure that both partners experience a sense of financial stability and equality in the relationship.
Second, when one partner holds significantly greater wealth, it can unintentionally create imbalances in power dynamics, especially when one person is the stay-at-home parent and the other works. The partner with greater financial resources may exert more control, whether intentionally or not. The inclusion of a wealth equalization clause serves as a tool to mitigate potential disparities in power dynamics by balancing out the wealth.
HelloPrenup’s Response: Child Support Clauses Not Allowed
We also agree with the Redditor who said child support clauses are not allowed in prenups. Virtually all states do not allow a couple to waive or alter child support in their prenup. The state will decide how much a child gets based on the unique situation at the time of the divorce. This is to protect the child’s best interests and make sure they are taken care of. In the case above, the wife will still be entitled to child support from her wealthy husband with or without a prenup. However, child support is not meant to cover the support of the spouse, it’s only for the child. Support for a spouse is known as alimony or spousal support. It’s different. So, while, yes, her baby would be financially supported through child support, that doesn’t mean that the wife would also be given support in the form of alimony. Whether or not she waived alimony in the prenup is unclear.
HelloPrenup’s Response: Postnuptial Agreement
As the wise Redditor above stated, a postnuptial agreement (a.k.a., a postnup) may be a good compromise, instead of revoking it entirely. A postnup could effectively amend certain aspects of the prenup to be tailored to some of the couple’s new life circumstances. And, often, this is one of the common reasons for a postnup: a change in life circumstances. It is a great option for this couple if revocation is off the table. They could include a wealth equalization clause, they could make sure she is covered with alimony (if she previously waived it in the original prenup), and/or they could include a provision about the primary residence, which would allow the wife to stay in their primary residence after the divorce.
HelloPrenup’s Advice to OP
It is important to acknowledge the significance of feelings related to financial insecurity, especially in a scenario where there’s a wealth disparity between a husband and wife. Expressing empathy and understanding toward your partner’s viewpoint holds the key to resolving tensions and fortifying the foundation of your relationship. There are potential adjustments that can be considered in the prenuptial agreement to address this concern without necessitating a complete revocation of the prenup.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]