After seeing several friends go through bitter and prolonged divorces, my husband has decided that he wants us to have a postnuptial agreement. He explains that our marriage is a “limited liability partnership” with no “out clause” and that he wants to put a “stop loss” in place, as if our marriage is one of his stock market trades. He says he doesn’t want to go on in this “contract”—meaning our marriage—unless I sign a postnup. We have been married four years and have a toddler son. We live in a state that says assets should be divided equitably in a divorce, but the postnup he offers would give me only 20 percent of his financial assets and he’d keep the house because he owned it before we were married. We both work, though I make two-thirds of his income. I consulted an attorney who says my husband’s proposal is “total B.S.” and I shouldn’t sign. My husband says if I don’t he will serve me with divorce papers. He adds this has nothing to do with his feelings for me or our son, and would prefer to continue living together even if we do divorce. I love the life we had together and don’t want to lose it. We even had been talking about having a second child. But he is obviously more worried about protecting his growing wealth than he is about our family. I just don’t know what to do.
—To Sign or Not To Sign?
Dear To Sign
Don’t sign. I agree with your attorney that your husband’s demands are ludicrous, especially given the fact that if you refuse the postnuptial and your husband becomes your ex, you will get a much larger chunk of his assets. But you are not so much dealing with a legal dilemma, as a psychological one. You say you have loved your life with your husband, without adding, “Despite his being a cold-hearted sob.” Two can play that game. Tell your husband if he does not want to go on this contract you will have no option other than to treat him as an independent contractor. Tell him you will have to hire for services rendered of his depreciating asset. Call his bluff and be sure to wine e’m dine e’m and 1099 e’m. That should tax him.
Hope this helps