Protecting My Assets

“Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.”- Rita Mae Brown

To prenup or not prenup. That is the question I am pondering today. I’ve always said that I wanted a prenup. Before getting married I asked “Hey, what do you think about a prenup?” He laughed at me and said, “Why? It’s not like you’re sitting on a pile of wealth that I’m after.” I dropped the issue. He was right. I wasn’t. However, my concern was about my future wealth and earnings.

But, many people still have issues with prenups. Especially women. Sorry ladies, but it’s true. People feel that you’re looking at things negatively and that you don’t believe that your marriage will work. Nope. Not true at all. You’re protecting yourself and your earnings. If you had one million in the bank before we get married and I had $1,000 why should I be entitled to half of that? Because I married you? I didn’t earn it.

I started thinking about this because more women are demanding prenups than ever. I read how Gabrielle Union demanded one from her very rich husband, Dwayne Wade. She wanted to protect her brand and assets. I actually liked that idea. What’s wrong with protecting your identity and the money you’ve made prior to securing your life partner?

Prenups don’t decrease the value of love you have for one another. It actually helps you discuss finances as part of your marriage planning. You’re entering into a territory of “we” but neither of you wants to get screwed should one person decide it isn’t working out for them. Now, no one enters into a marriage thinking that it may never work out, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes it just doesn’t.

Protecting your assets or future assets is not a bad idea. As women seem to be earning more and marrying men who may not be as financially wealthy as they are there is a shift to protect what was earned prior to marriage. Think, Real Housewives of Atlanta when Kandi Burruss married Todd Tucker. They were literally holding up the wedding until the prenup was signed. It was signed prior to their nuptials though.

Let’s not forget Kim Kardashian when she married her second husband, basketball player, Kris Humphries. It was Kim’s sister who went to her mother to confirm that the prenup was signed before her sister walked down the aisle. Khloe didn’t want to trust the fact that their joint family ventures were at risk because her sister was in love. The prenup was to protect their assets.

But, even though you may not have the millions like the women I discussed, think about if you are a business owner, a homeowner or you have a trust fund or inheritance. Would you want to take the chance that love conquerors all and roll the dice that a prenup would “destroy” the love? Not me. Just think about protecting yourselves and there is no time like the present to bring up the idea of a prenup.

The best quote I read was from a woman who fell in love with a man who lived in Paris. Her story “Why I’m Getting a Prenup—and You Should Too” was posted on the Huffington Post and she said, “I may be in love, but I’m not ignorant about the fact that “things” can happen. I understand that infidelity is always a possibility, that sometimes love just dies, or even that there may be a situation where I’m stuck in France, unable to leave the country with my daughter because of laws I can’t change.”

Just think about the quote above that says “Divorce is the only human tragedy that reduces everything to cash” and hopefully you will make the right decision. Because it is true. There are no guarantees, but you don’t want your brand, assets or investments to suffer because there wasn’t sound financial planning involved.

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Woman to Woman

Let’s have a talk shall we? As I’ve stated in prior posts, I’m in a state of transition..that from married to single. It’s been a long time since I was single and my first time as a single parent trying to have a co-parenting relationship. I will always love my ex for it was he who gave me our son, but I have to say something… this crap gets hard sometimes!

Not that I’m looking to fix a flat tire or repair my marriage, but co-parenting when we can’t seem to act like adults is hard as hell. Yep, I said “we” purposely. I’m not going to sit here and let you believe that I’ve got this all figured out and I’m the best person when it comes to disengaging my personal animosities and trying to co-parent effectively. I don’t.

Most of the time it is trial and error. Many errors, some good things and a lot of okay things happen. I think letting go of old wounds from our marriage is what is contributing to the bad head space we can find ourselves in. Why? Because we’re both headstrong individuals who have to be right. We both want to have the last word. We both hope that we don’t screw up our son.

Our son lives with his dad 50% of the time and with me 50% of the time. His needs come first. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we put his needs first. Yes, he is six and yes he is aware that his mommy and daddy will not live together anymore. But, more than that he realizes that the two people who gave him life love him more than we ever thought possible.

The reason why I am calling this post “Woman to Woman” is because I needed to get something off my chest. If you are a woman dating my ex and plan on being around there are some things you should know. A list of how to deal with me and my desire to raise an incredibly wonderful little boy in two separate homes. Here you go:

  1. Never, ever listen to us argue. You see if my ex should get reckless and try to prove to you that I’m crazy and hold a personal conversation on the phone with me while you are riding in his car, be woman enough to tell him that it’s not acceptable. What we argue about should never concern you in your preliminary role.
  2. Just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean that I don’t do my research. I’m a protective mama cub. I only have one child and he means more to me than anything in my life. That being said who you are (your first and last name) matter to me.
  3. I don’t want him back. Nope, I don’t. I love my ex because he and I were together so long. We made memories. Some good, some bad, but in the end the greatest thing we ever did was have our son. I’m not trying to do it again. No matter what you hear.
  4. Understand that no one will ever take my place. Not that I think you believe that, but my ex said that to me. He actually said, “No one can ever take your place as our son’s mother.” Dude, I know this. I still have the incision where he was taken from me five weeks early. There is never a replacement for the original. I’m his mommy.
  5. What happens in my home is my business and vice versa. Unless my son volunteers information, I will never, ever question him about what occurs at his father’s house. It’s none of my business unless it affects his well-being. That being said, very little will ever affect his well-being (because his dad adores him) so I don’t care what happens at daddy’s house as long as he is being loved, fed, clothed and nurtured in the best way possible.
  6. Being a part of his dad’s life long term will mean that you will have to meet me. Understand that I bear no ill will or animosity towards you. I am a mother. I am a woman and I believe in the unity of all women. I encourage us to be civil and make the transition for my child seamless and positive. But, understand that you will have to do your part…know and accept that I will always want to do what is in the best interest of my son. No one is more qualified to make important decisions than his dad and I. No one.

One of the greatest things his dad did after we split was rush over to my house because our son had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. It was almost 20 minutes of blood gushing and him screaming. His dad called and he screamed, “I want my daddy”. His dad was in a movie and left and said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You know what? He was. Not because of me, but because his son needed him. That was pretty awesome and it made me realize one thing…his dad will move mountains for him and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am new to this co-parenting thing and no I didn’t expect to have it figured out, but I’m trying. His dad and I make a lot of stupid mistakes (mainly because we’re pig-headed) but we are trying. We will someday get this right, but I want the temporary (or permanent) women to know that there is no reason to be less than a woman when attaching yourself to the foolishness that may be us. We love our son and we will get it right (hopefully sooner rather than later) someday.

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Great Marriages and the Reality

My Facebook friend posted this link last month for a piece entitled “It’s time to accept this fact: A really great marriage is rare”.  I read the article and the researcher made some great points. It wasn’t a woman arguing that people shouldn’t get married, but that great marriages were rare and that there has been a shift in our society whereby women don’t need to marry because of the shift in our circumstances and/or cultural norms. Women have more options and don’t need men for financial security, sexual satisfaction, to have children or for social approval. Women have in essence changed the game. We’ve become more powerful.

I pondered that theory and I have to say that the researcher has a point. When you look at the changes in our society over the years, you see that not only in other races, but especially in the black community, there is a shift. More black women are earning more than their black male counterparts. Thus, it makes it harder for college educated women to find their ideal black man “IBM” who has equal or more to her in terms of wealth. Black women are working hard and waiting until later to get married. But, when you’re ready to get married, your IBM doesn’t come in riding on a white horse to sweep you off your feet.

Fairytales are just that. Fairytales. Not meant to provide any form of reality for our young girls. But, could I as a feminist really truly believe that I needed a man for anything? I don’t know if I was ever sold on the whole happily ever after fairytale that other little girls were taught because I knew better. My reality didn’t include a happy queen and a happy king. In my post yesterday, I talked about how my dad is an alcoholic so any chances of a prince charming taking care of me were replaced with the reality that he didn’t exist. People had faults.

Those faults translated into the fact that I grew up in a single parent home and I knew that I never wanted to be like my mother. She wasn’t a bad mother. She just short changed her life to have me and my siblings and to be a wife. Would she have made the same decisions now in today’s society? I don’t know. I would like to think no. I think she would have given birth to me and gone back to college like my grandfather insisted. I think she would have accepted that she could be considered a social pariah in a small town, but she would have been just fine raising a child on her own after getting her degree. She would have been considered a game changer by my standards.

But, she didn’t change the game. She followed her heart and cultural norms. Those norms shaped and impacted my belief in marriage. That fostered with the environmental factors and social shifts helped me realize one thing…I didn’t need to get married. I didn’t need a man for anything. Men were dispensable objects that had no real value other than fixing my car, maintenance on my house or just friends who I could toss ideas about my career path with. Not worthy of having the title of husband or father because I was jaded and I didn’t believe in happily ever after. I would never sacrifice my career to be a wife or mother. It wasn’t an option.

However, that changed when I found someone who wanted to marry me with my flaws and all. With my jaded view of reality in tow, he sought about finding refuge in my heart and spirit so that he could show me or whether prove to me that men weren’t dispensable objects and I could be both a wife and a mother and I would love it. Problem was that I didn’t love it. I loved him. I loved our family. I loved our son. But, I didn’t want to live my life being disappointed and feeling lonely and unloved. Yes, people have problems. I get that, but when the problem is the two people what do you do?

You make a decision on how your life will play out.  Whether it be a comedy, love story or tragedy, you have to know marriage is what you make it. It takes two people who share, not only the same value of marriage, but the desire to keep it healthy and functioning. You will make mistakes, nothing is perfect, but if you want to find someone who at the end of the day you would rather fight with than without then you have hit the jackpot.

“The painful truth is that really great marriages exist, but they are rare. What we as a society should probably be telling married people is, “If you have love, passion, companionship and equality in your marriage, you are wealthy beyond words. If you don’t, you have two choices. You can decide that your marriage is the best you’re going to get and try to be content. Alternatively, you can leave your marriage to play the lottery of finding that perfect partner, accepting that you are unlikely to win and may have to stay single for the rest of your life.” – Danielle Teller

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Motherhood before Marriage

Okay, I’m on another tangent after reading this story in the New York Times this weekend. So, here’s my deal…

I remember when I was in college and my girlfriend had just given birth to her second child out of wedlock. A baby girl with the biggest brown eyes I had ever seen. She was a stunningly beautiful child. I smiled, held her close and inhaled her intoxicating baby scent. She was one of God’s greatest creations and I was in love. I wanted to be a mom someday. What followed next caught me by surprise.

My girlfriend’s mother was in the room while I was holding the baby and she asked me, “When do you plan on having a baby?” I was momentarily caught off guard because I thought that would be an absurd question considering that I wasn’t even married. I politely responded, “When I get married.” Later that night, I talked to my mother and told her about the incident. I asked my mother, “Why would people assume that I would want to be a mother without being a wife?” She simply replied, “Environment. Times have changed and black women seem to be okay with having children out of a wedlock.”
Years later, I married the man God chose for me. Neither one of us was prepared for the journey that marriage would take us on, but one thing for sure was that we knew we wanted to enjoy the ride together. My husband wanted children immediately after our wedding and I said, “No, I don’t want children before I’m 30.” Well, 30 came quickly and my husband still wanted a baby. I pushed and paused and said, “Do you know most marriages end in divorce in the first five years? I want to wait.” He had no choice because it was my body and I wasn’t ready to be a mother, but he wasn’t pleased. It wasn’t until after our five year anniversary that I got the news from my ob/gyn that if we wanted to have children we needed to get started. She explained to me how Hollywood glamorized that you could have children well into your 40’s, but that is not always the case with all women and that given my medical history it would be difficult for me to continue to wait. She asked me what are you waiting for?
Almost five years later, I have finally figured out what the answer to that question. I was afraid. I didn’t want to be a single parent. I didn’t want to raise my child alone. I know that nothing is guaranteed (including marriage), but I didn’t get married to do it on my own. Marriage is a partnership and I need my partner. I need to be able to have “me time” and still be a good mom with an active role in my child’s life. Even now, that is a source of pain in my marriage. I’m afraid of having another child because what if my husband and I don’t work out? I know we’ve been married almost 10 years, but people divorce all the time. Or, what if he dies? Can I be the emotional anchor my children need after burying the man who promised me forever? Can I realistically afford to take care of two children by myself? I don’t want to be a single mother.
It’s years later, but many women, especially black women continue to think that single motherhood is the norm. Why? Because you have people like Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jamie Lynn Spears and many others having children out of wedlock. Shouldn’t you want your child to be born in wedlock? I know it seems like everyone has illegitimate children running around nowadays, but aren’t we missing the fact that we are raising a generation of children with no sense of marriage and two parent households? There is nothing normal about raising children all on your own without ever being married. The fact that 73% of black children are born out of wedlock is astronomical. We need to do something about these numbers. Is it lack of education or a cultural phenomenon? This is out of control! I’m raising a son who if he is lucky enough to find a wife, he will find slim pickings among eligible females who don’t have children.

This is not meant to bash women who are raising children on their own, but to help me and the rest of society understand why would you want to be a mom before a wife? I hate when people say that marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn’t mean anything. That is a falsehood. A wife is entitled to make the decisions regarding her husband in case of emergency, collect his pension and be recognized for the fact that she legally married. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” We should all want favor from the Lord.

So, this is a call to arms to women because we are the givers of life. We birth society and all the troubles that come with it. We shoulder the burdens of life and keep it moving. More importantly, we need to make the decision to scream “I will be a wife before a baby’s mama!”

Trust me, you’re worth it!