Broke and Blending

Last week in one of my parenting groups I saw this post from the Daily Mail asking Would you pay your stepchild’s education fees? I was intrigued. What fees? Mr. C and I want to marry in the future and college tuition will be a part of our budget so I wanted to read the post.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected. The woman posted in a group chat how she’s moving in with her boyfriend and they have 3 children among them. She has two girls and he has one daughter. She asked him prior to even the thought of them moving in would his daughter be okay with going to public school while her girls attended private school. He said yes.

Well, lo and behold his daughter is not. Now, her boyfriend wants his daughter to go to private school like her girls or both her girls should go to public school. Yeah right. So, he felt that it was fair and some other people on the post believed the same thing.

Here are my 5 thoughts on this issue:

  1. Heck, no. First off, the man makes equivalent to $18,000 in U.S. money annually. Didn’t I tell you women to stop dating broke men. Are you kidding me? How is he financially supporting his child on this low salary? That is the bigger issue.
  2. The woman stated that she makes substantially more than him and will be absorbing the majority of the costs in the home. Why? Why are you dating someone who will be a financial drain on you and you have children? Your goal is to provide for them and not take care of a broke man.
  3. This is going to shock some of you all, but life’s not fair. There. I said it. That is the lesson that you have to teach your children. His daughter needs to learn that life is not fair and if she wants to go to private school, her parents need to pay for it. If not, suck it up and enjoy a public school education. I did. I turned out fine.
  4. Money should be separate unless you’re married. Why would we combine funds if we are not married? Your money is your money and my money is my money while we are dating. No cohabitation or confusion on this issue. But, let me be clear. It is a man’s job to put a roof over his family’s head. I’ll say it again….I’m not paying for a roof over my head. That doesn’t mean that I won’t pay any bills, but a man should be able to swing the mortgage or rent.
  5. Are you financially compatible? Nope. If you were, you wouldn’t be having this issue. You can’t be with a grown man who has a child that believes earning less than $20k a year is a good look. It’s not. Don’t put yourself in financial straights by dating and living with this broke man.

Now, I know some of you may be saying “T, you’re being too hard.” Nope, I’m not. If I am dating someone (not married) and I can afford private school and you can’t then why should my child(ren) suffer? A man is supposed to provide. If he can’t provide for me he should at the very least be able to provide for his child(ren). If he can’t do that then why would you be with him? Throw him back in the ineligible dating pool. He’s not ready.

This is why I’m an advocate of making sure that you are equally yoked prior to moving in and definitely before marriage. Not just in religion, but in all things including financial. You need to level set about all things and expectations. This whole ordeal could have been avoided had she stayed away from this broke man.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe that all children should be treated equally? Would you pull your children out of private school and send them to public school for your partner?

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Happy New Year – 2017

Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year. May your 2017 be everything you hoped for and more. Keep pushing forward to reach your goals and let’s make it a great one!

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My Relationship Status Doesn’t Validate My Opinion – Part II

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post

 

Why are we lying to each other and saying that you must date a poor man in order to be happy? If you don’t have a man then you’ve somehow set your standards too high to find love? If he’s poor then he’s probably the one for you and you’re not giving him a chance.

The devil is a lie. I’m not down for no struggle love. Let’s be clear…this is specifically referring to dating. I’m not asking a man to take me to a Michelin starred restaurant, but it shouldn’t be out of the question for a special occasion such as an anniversary. I’m not against moderately priced outings. I’m pretty low key.

If a man makes $20,000 a year and is not in school, how is he providing for himself? Why aren’t you asking what his ambitions or dreams are? If he’s content working at McDonald’s with no dreams or aspirations of better, should you really be continuing down the path of poverty with this man?

That’s how women get d*ckmatized. We start spreading our legs and letting that good d*ck interfere with our judgement. Stop it sis! It’s not worth it. Trust me….I’ve been there and done that.

A good man isn’t defined by his bedroom skills. That is an added benefit of course, but if he’s that good, you need him to work the club scene/private escort scene to up his financial status and be able to provide for you. LOL.

Seriously though, I think that we need to stop deluding ourselves into believing that we could be happy dating someone who can’t afford to date you and you’re over 40. He doesn’t have to be rich because money doesn’t make a man but we need to be honest with our expectations and hold true to our beliefs. Struggle love at 40 is not cute. Want another visual? Your mama is 65, would you want her dating a man that became a financial burden on her and she’s close to retirement?

Nope.

So, why would you settle? Are there other factors that will make a man more attractive? Yes, but how can you get to know those other factors without dating? I remember about 8 years ago, my girlfriend was filing her taxes with her husband. It had been a rough year financially for them, but they had a mortgage and 3 kids. They had to rob Peter to pay Paul because she was only making $40,000 at the time and she told me that her husband made $14,000 that year.

She literally wanted to cry. They were married. They made a combined income of $54,000 and couldn’t afford the basics…utilities, doctor’s co-pays and gas to get back and forth to work. That kind of poverty does something to you. It breaks you. It changes you in ways that you never imagined.

Her life was worse off than when she was single. But, she’s not an anamoly. Too many women are settling for the sake of saying that they have someone. It’s cool if that’s what you want, but stop trying to sell the rest of the world on the importance of love and happiness if you’re completely financing your dating life.

I have to say this for those that think that I’m being harsh…I’m not. I’m not desperate for love. I have standards and more importantly I’m raising a son. I’m not asking any man to do what I wouldn’t expect for my son to do. Okay.

I also believe in equality. Women should pay for some dates too. I pay for some dates with Mr. C and although he pays for 95% of our dates, I don’t mind footing the bill sometimes. However, I am a gift giver and he gets a lot of gifts from me because I know and appreciate the fact that he is paying the majority of the time.

Once you get past the 4th date ladies, you should definitely be paying. Make him know that you appreciate his efforts and you are a contributing partner in getting to know him. Show him you’re worth the effort and the money spent.

 

Real Talk: Child Support Drama

Can we get real for a second? I wrote last week about how we choose men and then consider them unfit to be more than a weekend dad and now I want to talk about the child support drama. Now, before going off on me, please read the entire post.

Okay, do I believe in child support? Yes, I do. We can’t raise children on purely love, hugs and kisses. It takes finances to be able to raise children. In other words, you paid to play, you paid to lay and now you have to pay to raise.

Simple truth.

For the Ladies…

Some women (if it doesn’t apply to you stop getting mad) use child support as a weapon against their child’s father. They in turn use that support for things that have nothing to do with the child. Is that fair? No.

It takes two parents to raise a child. If you are a woman and your children are school age you need to get a job. You need to provide financial support for your children as well. You need to be able to raise your children financially. We can’t assume that the other parent has to do it all. He shouldn’t have to.

Neither should you. But, you need to be working. Let’s be honest…it takes more than one income to raise children from infancy through college. You need to be a productive member of society showing your children that you worked hard to provide for them.

For the Men…

It is never acceptable for you to go off and make a new life and not support your children. Children have needs and expenses that require both parents to participate in. Nope, I’m not asking you to pay my rent, mortgage, utilities or car note. I’m asking you to help with the expenses of health, dental, vision and schooling including activities.

You can’t be a every other weekend dad and just take care of your child 4 days out of 30 or 31. What the hell is wrong with you? Who is supposed to do it the rest of the time? Your children have expenses and is the mother of your child supposed to figure it out?

I remember hearing my mother beg my father to support us (it was 3 of us) once a year. She said “My two hardest times are when school starts and Christmas. If you take one of those events I will support them the rest of the year on my own.” You know what he said? No.

My Story…

I’ve had men tell me that I’m a good woman because when I asked for a divorce I said we could have joint custody. No child support. That doesn’t make me a good woman. I did it because I believed that we could both support our child without having the courts interfere.

But, here’s a piece of information that I found out when going through a divorce…Child support looks at both incomes. My lawyer told me that because I made substantially more than my ex-husband that I would have to pay him $497 a month to keep his son 50% of the time. Say what now?

Yes, I couldn’t believe it. She asked, “Why did you marry someone who wasn’t in your tax bracket?” I was stunned. I responded “We dated in our mid-twenties. It wasn’t that big of a deal when we were younger. He likes working in the non-profit field. They don’t pay as much. I didn’t care. I wanted him to work wherever he’s happy.” She said, “Well, now you could pay for it.” I responded, “No, I will never pay a man to keep his child 50% of the time. I still have bills and expenses including trying to save for college. I can’t afford that. I’ll file for sole custody before I pay child support.”

I went on talking and explaining my expenses for my son that I pay for without ever asking for financial reimbursement from his dad. I told her that I keep him on my health insurance because I do this for a living and would never have him on a plan that wasn’t phenomenal. I told her that in the beginning of the divorce, I actually divided and shared my son’s clothes so his dad could slowly rebuild. Anything that benefited my son I was doing. She added those numbers in and had it down to $10 a month.

But, what about me? Was I wrong in my thinking? I mean after hearing that I would have to pay my ex-husband child support to take care of our son half the time I was willing to change the circumstances of what I had initially agreed to. Was it fair? In my mind I believed that to be the case which is why I called him.

I told him what my lawyer said. I told him that “In the interest of being fair, I just found out that I would have to pay you $497 a month to keep your son 50% of the time in child support.” I said, “I’m not going to do it. I will never pay someone child support to keep their child 50% of the time knowing that I do a lot that I’ve never asked for reimbursement for anything I’ve paid for. I’m also saving for his college fund. I will file for sole custody with a visitation schedule if you want child support.”

Yep, I was kinda rude. I own it. But, he was understanding and he knew that I would have to pay him support but agreed to not take anything from me. That doesn’t make me a good woman because I didn’t take him to court for child support. I understood the differences in our income and knew that my son’s father does support his son. He may not do it at the level I do financially, but that is okay because I make more.

Finally…

Parents need to support their children. It takes two parents and we’ve got to make sure that we are not using our children as pawns or paychecks. I know that I don’t. I just ask that you consider not doing it either.

We need to support our children. Not by yourself but as an equal partner. You see that word? Partner. It’s the same letters as in Parent. Co-parent.

To Pay or Not to Pay – Part 2

This is a continuation from my post yesterday entitled To Pay or Not to Pay

 

Relationships are a partnership ladies. We can’t be partners if we’re not willing to show up and act like it in the dating stages. It’s true. Men want women they can depend on.

What’s wrong with cooking him a dinner? Some of you may be asking that question right now. Nothing is wrong with cooking him a dinner. However, I have a major rule when dating…unless we are serious, you will not be invited to my home. There, I said it. I don’t want men that are not serious in my home. The home that I share with my son whether he is there or not.

Heck, I’ve dated men upwards of a year and they’ve never been invited over. So, why would you invite him to your home unless you’re serious? Times have changed and we shouldn’t be eager to letting a man spend time in our domiciles that we haven’t committed to.

I asked one of my two best friends (he’s a male) what do men think of women who don’t ever offer to pay for anything while dating? He responded, “We think of her as selfish and don’t continue to date her seriously.” He further said, “Unless, I’m trying to get the cookies from her she is not going to get too many free meals and then after I get them I will be gone.”

He then said, “T, believe it or not hood chicks (women from lower class neighborhoods with a less than stellar vocabulary, quick tempered, has a child(ren) and may be employed) will pay for a meal and cater to her man quicker than ya’ll professional women. Professional women tend to be stingy and don’t want to pay for anything. They think we should wine and dine them for at least 90 days without getting any cookie.

Now, the obvious thought is why on earth is my best friend just dating women to have sex with him, but I started thinking maybe there is some truth in what he was saying about the differences of the type of women.  Are more professional women single because we appear selfish? Are we allowing our true intentions to go unnoticed because we refuse to look at dating as a partnership?

I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I know that dating is expensive. In this day and age can a man can’t be expected to date you continuously and seriously for a long time without you ever offering to pay for anything? I don’t think we should consistently pay, but we should ask ourselves is paying for an occasional meal the end of the world? Will it be the death of us?

In this economy, is it realistic to assume that a man can pay to date you on a weekly basis? Ya’ll know that I like numbers right? So, let’s do some quick math. In the Washington, DC area (where I live) most places that I expect to eat will average $100 for dinner and drinks. If I go out with a man once a week is it fair for him to pay $400 a month and still be expected to pay his bills? What if he has children? What would you do with an extra $400 a month?

How will you show that man that you’re interested in more than what he can do for you financially? Mr. C pays for the majority of our dates (95%), but I don’t mind paying for things. My willingness to share in this journey we’re taking has proven to him that I like the partnership. He’s a gentleman. It’s been six months of meals, drinks and adventures and nope I’m not giving up my cookies.  We look at it as an investment in getting to know each other.

 

To Pay or Not to Pay

This post was inspired by Violet’s post Who pays?

I’m a progressive woman and some of my friends think that I’m wrong, but I will offer to pay for my own meals when going out with men. Gasp!

Why would you ever do that? A man should always pay? Are you serious, you’re setting us back by offering to split the check? 

Really? I’m setting us back? Some women believe so.

However, I was raised to always have enough money to pay your own bill. On the first date, I will offer to split the check and most (99.5%) of the time a man will decline and pay. I’m always thankful to those that do and even for those that don’t. Why? Because I’m sure there’s a reason that we will never have a second date.

Understand this about me…I don’t depend or require a man to pay for dates. Maybe because I was raised to always be able to afford to pay for my own meal (so I wouldn’t have to put out) or maybe it’s because I think you should at least offer. I like chivalry. I like when a man pays. But, the circumstances were different during times in my life.

When I was younger, a man always paid (post college). When we were both struggling college students, we split the check. In reality, most of the men that I dated while I was in college worked full-time so they paid consistently. But, if I went out with a cute guy from my class we ate cheaply. I didn’t think he wasn’t a gentleman because we split the check. We were both poor and struggling college students. No judgement ever crossed my mind.

Now, as an adult in her 40’s, I would expect a man to pay the majority of the time. Not all the time. The majority of the time.

Why not all the time? Because a man my age has expenses just like I do. I don’t expect him to pay every time we go out if we are consistently dating. Consistently would mean over four consecutive dates in a month. I will usually offer to pay for the date after the 4th date and every so often. I told you that I’m progressive.

Take Mr. C and I for instance. We’ve been dating since October. He pays for the majority of our dates (95%). I offer to pay for dates or if we go out after dinner for drinks, I pay for drinks. Not hard to do. Yes, he makes more than I do, but he has expenses too and I want him to know that I value his time and money spent and show him that I’m not selfish.

What? Selfish? Humph!

Yes, selfish ladies. You see, I want to show Mr. C, that I am his partner and that I want to be someone who doesn’t mind pulling out her wallet. Not to emasculate him, but to show him that I enjoy spending time with him and that I don’t mind spending my own money when we go out.

He said to me that he had never had a woman EVER pay for anything. Really? Not even birthday dinners? Barely, if that. Wow! I couldn’t believe it.

Now, some of you are probably thinking, well T I can make him dinner but I shouldn’t have to pay. You know what I would say? The money you spent on buying the food could have been used to take him bowling or paying for dinner.

How can we convince a man that we are able to be his partner if we aren’t willing to invest during the get to know you stage? Oh wait, we’re going to show him that we are marriage material after we’re married? How will that work?

 

To be continued tomorrow….

Yes Lawdy…I’m Psyched!

As many of you know from my post last year that my car insurance raised 117%. I was officially depressed. I cried, had a breakdown, thought about medication. Thought about alternate employment offers (none that were Christian like if you get what I’m saying) to get the money to pay what I needed in order to be able to drive. I felt as though the world was closing in on me and I was in perpetual hell.

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My car insurance was more than my car note. My co-workers were the first to console me and they were so sweet and encouraging. My friends cried with me and were like “Dang, that’s serious.” No one offered me money. Moolah. Cold hard cash.

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So, I prayed. I limited activities. Didn’t go to Dubai with my girlfriends last December. Forget Dominican Republic for my 40th birthday celebration. What? I can’t afford Brazil in January for my 41st birthday. I have to pay my car insurance. I couldn’t continue to wallow in self-pity and feeling hopeless. I just tightened expenses and created a plan.

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I prayed. I wanted to go to all those places, but it was now time that I grew up. Made adult decisions and created plans to get back on track. You know the same things that I did when I was in college. I worked 3 jobs my senior year in college and took 21 credits. I could do this. I just needed to work the plan. Get my goals aligned with my finances. Make better decisions.

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Much like my decision to practice mindful eating, I had to watch my finances. Cut expenses where I could and decrease spending. Small steps. I cooked more. Ate out less. Entertained less. I saw two lights at the end of the tunnel…

I got a pre-approval to reduce my APR on my car by 50%. Talking to my financial savvy friends about my options which I saw as two:

  • Pay off my current loan in less time keeping the same monthly note or
  • Keep the same terms but lower the monthly payment

Both were good ideas said my friends. I felt the first surge of hope soar in my heart. All was not lost. Even though I’m leaning towards the first option, there was something new…hope.  It was on the horizon.

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Then I got this insurance renewal notice in the mail. I prayed before opening it. I knew that they were going to drop me. My friend borrowed my car in May and got into an accident. He hit a police car. “Jesus” was all I could say. I opened up the documents and saw this…

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It was less expensive than my current rate. How much? It was $85.00 a month cheaper than my current rate. I could breathe. They didn’t drop me after all. They even reduced the rate. I wouldn’t be destitute and twerking in some dark and dank club for some change to pay the car insurance.

I was officially in praise mode and yelled, “Thank you Jesus” and did my praise dance all up and through my office.

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Won’t HE do it? Thankful for every blessing!

Men are the Breadwinners

That’s the emerging theme I heard when I posed this question on Facebook last week:

Hey FB family:

I asked this question in a group and wanted your opinion.

I have a friend who is 48 and makes above $80k annually. When we were talking about joint accounts he said that he doesn’t believe in them because then someone would see how much you make. I explained to him that if you’re getting married your potential spouse should already know. He said, “Well, I’ve been burned before and I usually meet women who make substantially less than me. Between $20,000 and $40,000 less.”

I explained to him that at his age he’s closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and he shouldn’t be dating women who make less than $80,000 a year. What are your thoughts?

So, I get that my question was a fire starter in some instances. It brought all kinds of comments. Many of which I don’t think people answered and just wanted to comment. LOL!

I get it. But, the interesting thing is that women felt that the above man shouldn’t date if he’s worried about a woman’s salary because men are supposed to be the breadwinner. As a strong advocate for equality among the genders I disagree with this premise.

Why?

Because if the roles were reversed and I was making $80,000 or above I would not date anyone making substantially less than me. The response is…you shouldn’t. So, why is it that a man can date a woman who makes a lot less than him and it be okay or if he doesn’t he’s considered being pompous or too selective?

Women were responding that money shouldn’t matter because they make less than their spouse and it’s fine. Point of clarification…it’s your spouse. What married people decide is between them. I’m talking strictly dating.

My reason for giving the gentleman that advice was because he was closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and if he’s dating for a purpose he may want to consider someone who is his financial equal. You don’t want another dependent. However, even that was considered too harsh.

My own mother responded and said:

Let’s distinguish the levels here. If you are dating, no disclosure required. But, don’t be fooled, most people can figure out what you make, if they try hard enough. However, once you put a ring on it AND set a date, I think it is time for full disclosure on BOTH sides! After all, you can make $85K and be $65K in debt! Likewise, you could make $40K and have no debt! Full disclosure after engagement! That is my two cents!

Yes, my mom is on Facebook. She’s only 19 years older than me. But, I called her and told her that I disagreed because as I spoke about earlier this week with financial intimacy, would she want me to date someone who makes substantially less than me knowing I have a child. Her response, “No, I wouldn’t.” See. I told you.

I think we need to change our mindset and not be afraid to discuss money if we are dating with a purpose. You don’t have to give an exact figure of your income, but most people can guess based on what you do and where you work. It’s hard to date someone if you’re in your 40’s, living in this area (DC, Maryland and Virginia), have dependents and make less than $80,000. I’m not making excuses, I’m being real about the situation.

Which is why many women are running into men that want to pay for the first date and then chill or hang out at your house for the next. That’s crazy. We don’t know each other. You shouldn’t want me to know where you live and trust and believe that I won’t tell you where I live. So, how do we get to know each other?

Phone conversations? Yes. Text Messages? Sure. Email? Perhaps. Those are all great methods for communicating but you need to engage in the old-fashioned face to face communication. We need to hang out doing things. I’m not necessarily speaking on things that are costly, but you have to be willing to invest both time and money when dating someone.

Realistically speaking isn’t that what matchmakers do? Match you with someone who they believe would be a good fit. Who wants to get matched with a gorgeous man who makes an annual salary of $40,000? Not at 40.

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch and say, “T, money isn’t everything.” I know it’s not everything. I agree with that. If you’re a man who meets a woman who makes less than you I’m not suggesting you dump her and move along especially if there is chemistry. What I’m suggesting is that you observe her lifestyle and with communication find out if she can make sound financial decisions and practice sound judgement calls when it comes to wants and needs.

Again, it is my belief that the older you get you should look for financial compatibility as well as compatibility in other areas.  Dating with a purpose if you are closer to retirement with your financial equal is of utmost importance, not just for women but for men too. You don’t want to be a victim of someone’s financial irresponsibility.

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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.