Prenuptial agreements & step-children?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by JennsPeeps, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Let me start with this before I ask my question.

    1. Do not bash. One bash and I will report report report. Bashing includes comments like "you only need a prenup if you don't think it'll last" or "don't marry him". You get the picture.

    2. Constructive feedback ONLY. If you don't have any helpful advice to offer, please don't hit that submit button.

    Do any of you have experience with prenuptial agreements, or with marrying partners who have children from a previous marriage?


    Here's why I ask.

    My dad stopped by my house today when he knew my DF was gone. I love my dad's ambushes. He wants me to get a pre-nup and asked me all kinds of questions about DF's child support situation with his ex.

    I have a house, life insurance, car, and other assets.
    I bought my house before DF and I met, and will have had it for 6+ years prior to the wedding date. My understanding is that assets obtained before the marriage are not considered community property (WA is a community property state). I think that the house being exclusively mine excludes it from the marital assets and therefore protects it from his ex-wife.

    DF has 2 children from his 1st marriage. They are 10 & 17.
    The kids live 2,000 miles away. DF has a child support agreement in place. The monthly payment was based on the salary he was making at a big financial instution pre-recession. The payments are very high and he can't keep up with them since he left his job a year ago. He does send his ex as much money as he can, and getting caught up is priority #1 for our debt repayment plan.

    DF left his job over a year ago and hasn't been able to find another one.
    He was working 70-80 hrs/wk, couldn't keep up with the work load, and was so stressed out he was on BP meds. That was before the economy totally tanked and we had no idea at the time that he wouldn't even be able to get a job waiting tables. He quit right before his kids came to visit so that he could be with them.

    I like his ex-wife. We've met and we got along. She's been very flexible and has never once shown any animosity toward DF. I wish she did more to help DF have a better relationship with his kids, but I can't control that. I've been working to establish a relationship with the kids myself, and actually email his DD about weekly.


    I'm not a naive person. I'm in my mid-30s, well-educated, and even-headed. I'm not expecting marriage to be all rosy & yellow brick road from here on out. I know that a good marraige is based on hard work, negotiation, and understanding.

    I'd like to hear from people who may have had situations similar to mine (pre-marriage assets on 1 side, children on another) and how it worked out. Did you get a pre-nup? Do you wish you had? How have the stepchildren been through the process?

    Thanks for your insights, support, and experiences!
  2. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I've got history here, but no prenup.
    I see 2 areas that you might want to be concerned about:

    1. community property state -Anything that he does after the marriage, even if he's home and you're working, you may need to pay for if the marriage dissolves. i.e. if he fixes up the family room... you would be responsible to pay him for his labor.
    The courts don't seem to care about how you fed and clothed him and/or his children, etc. Look into it.

    2. BP - big concern. Obvious reasons.... people generally change, but this is a recipe for major changes.... and neediness.

    All the best.
  3. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    I wish I could help you Jenn, but I'm going to say the "l" word. You might want to consult with a lawyer on this one. That, at the very least, will give you a big gun answer for your dad should he ambush you again. I wish you all the best!
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I have stepkids (all are now grown, but none were even close to grown when we married). Neither of us had significantly more or less than the other when we married, and we never even thought about a pre-nup.

    I do think there are situations when they can be useful. The most common scenario that I think of (ouside media frenzy, that is) is when an older (think retired) couple marries after being widowed. A prenup can protect the inheritance for their children. Family from their late parent should go to the children, not their step-parent if/when their parent dies (although possession during the step-parent's life is common, expecially if a home is involved).

    Assets brought to a marriage do usually remain the property of the one who owned them, but if mingled, the ownership can come into question. For example, you own the house, but what happens if he does get a good paying job and starts paying the mortgage? What if you decide to refinance? What if you remodel the property using joint assets?

    I don't know that you need a prenup, but you do probably need legal advise on how to arrange your affairs so that you do not comingle your assets inadvertantly (if you choose to do so, that is your decision--you just need to know how to not accidentally comingle.
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    BP? Not sure what you mean?

    Oh, and I read the part about protecting it from the ex-wife--I assume you mean because he is behind on child support? Your assets cannot be garnished, and your income cannot be considered in setting his child support rate. Bad news is any additional kids the two of y'all might have also cannot be considered in setting his child support rate for his current kids.
  6. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    I'm sorry, but I will always have a prenup. I have not been married yet, but I have made that decision long, long ago.
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits...

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Well..let me think here..

    If you guys get married and (god forbid) something happens to him. The kids/EX cant touch the house as its in your name. (correct?) and even if it was in both your names you are still living there so..dont worry about that point. But just because you owned it before marriage does not always mean the house is exempt from others getting there hands on it after a marriage. But again..i'm assuming the house in your name here..So no worries,..well unless he can show that he paid towards the mortgage/taxes for such and such years....then sometimes they CAN make you sell off your property. I think...

    Now my father is remarried and has 2 children with my step mother. The plan they have is..all 3 of us children are to split their house/proceeds..etc.. Which is only fair IMO

    Now i do know that if he was married to her for 10 years or more that she does have a claim on his Social Security IF it is higher than she would be collecting herself. But that has nothing to do with a pre-nup. Thats for when you all get old and grey..[​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009
  8. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap

    I think a pre-nup is to protect assets. Keeping seperate bank accounts would keep court orders for child support from touching your income. Ken's kids are not minor children, so I am not much help there, but I do believe that the support issue could be the sticker in the future. Not as far as your marriage, but as far as payments go.

    We have a joint account and my account. I transfer money from our account to my account - IRS issue here.
  9. key west chick

    key west chick Songster

    May 31, 2008
    Gainesville, GA
    ummm, BP. Blood pressure or Bi-polar?
  10. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap

    Quote:Blood pressure - high stress job.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: