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Dear Dharma,

I have been engaged for about 6 months to a great guy, and we are planning our wedding.  I am 24, he is 27, and neither of us has been married before.  We both have good jobs with excellent career paths ahead.

My BF comes from a well off family, and has some money and stocks that he inherited from his grandmother.  His parents are divorced and his dad lives out of state, but I have met him a couple of times.

Ever since we started getting serious about our relationship, his dad has gotten closer to my fiancé than they have been in years.  Just lately, my fiancé brought up that he wants us to have a pre-nup before the wedding.

I understand he wants to protect his inheritance and I am not bothered by that.  But he also has said, “Of course you would waive alimony” and by the way I am expected to pay half the legal bills to draw this up.

I am pretty much positive that this is his father putting all of these words in his head, as there was never any hint of this before they started getting close again. I still love him and want to get married, but I don’t know what to do about the pre-nup.

Should I just sign on because we won’t get divorced anyways, or do I need a lawyer too?  I haven’t stated my concerns because I don’t want to sound like I am in this for the money, but it isn’t even like he is trying to protect millions.  It’s more like enough for great down payment on a house.

Not a Gold Digger!

Dear NGD,

The first thing Dharma’s going to tell you is that she’s not a lawyer.  Although I think I would have been a great one.  “Objection!  Counsel is outrageously leading the witness!”  “Sustained.  Good catch, attorney.”  “Thank you, your honour.”

Anyway, if your BF, or his father, is pushing something you’re not comfortable with, you have the right to a) say something about it, and b) look out for yourself by having someone in the legal profession peruse these documents before you sign anything.

After all, that’s what your boyfriend is doing, looking out for himself, right?  He should want you to do the same for yourself.  If he doesn’t, please let that serve as a red flag.

There’s a lot of good that can come out of this situation.  First off, you can learn how to handle conflict with each other in a healthy manner that involves honest communication.  Which means having a discussion about this and working through it together…

Secondly, you have learned that your boyfriend has the ability to be heavily influenced by his father, and you now get the opportunity to decide if this is something you can live with for the rest of your life.

And please don’t think me a buzzkill when I say that I’ve never known one engaged couple – not one! – who strutted around saying, “Oh yeah, the two of us?  We’re never going to make it.  Divorce is definitely in the cards.”

The divorce rate in Canada is 38% and it’s closer to 50% in the United States.  Meaning half the people who say, “We’re never going to get divorced!” get divorced.

In closing, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Dharma says the signing of legal documents whilst wearing of the rose coloured glasses is a bad, bad idea.  So talk with your boyfriend, and get a legal opinion.

Dharma, Who’s Not a Lawyer


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