And by “poor people,” I mean me and you, of course: basically, regular people. I’m 100 percent sure that the likes of Kanye and Kim Kardashian aren’t reading my writings, but if they are, I need the Pirate Black Yeezy Boost 350s in a size 10. Thanks.
By definition, a prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into prior to marriage that can widely vary on terms and conditions. For most of us, though, we simply see it as a way to protect our shit. And by “our shit,” I mean assets, earnings and intellectual properties acquired prior to, during and after the marriage. I’m pretty sure this is an exact Johnnie Cochran quote.
Remember when it was all over the internet that Nas was kicking up more than $40,000 to Kelis in child and spousal support? Or remember even more recently when it was reported that Derek Fisher was going to pay $1.3 million in spousal support plus $180,000 in child support to his ex-wife Candace and we were all like, “What the fuck?”
The thing is this: Most of us won’t even make $1 million in 10 years, so thinking about giving that much away every year is unfathomable. I’m pretty sure Jay Z and Beyoncé have a prenup that will ensure that when all is said and done, they can still get a new Maybach every year and neither of them will have to move into a smaller mansion. (Side note: Jay and Bey were the pinnacle of black love right up until Lemonade dropped. Just let that simmer for a second as you continue to read.) Let’s be honest—even if you’re married in a Kobe-Vanessa Bryant situation and you have to give up half of $300 million, you still have $150 million and you’re still rich.
Well, most of us don’t have shit, and half of nothing is still nothing, right? No; it’s wrong, dead-ass wrong. Half of your pension and/or 401(k) is very much something, especially if you can no longer afford to retire and you have to get a job at Target after 30 years with a good government job. Half of your two-bedroom condo is definitely something, especially if you can’t afford to buy your ex out so you have to sell your shit to pay them off. Half of your 2007 E-class Benz might only be $8,000, but do you have $8,000 to just give away? I’m assuming you don’t, since you don’t have shit and having shit would mean you’d have all this disposable cash sitting around to pay off your former spouse.
You see, the prenup actually protects the little bit of stuff you do have, along with the stuff you will possibly attain during and after the relationship ends. We non-1 percenters need that layer of protection that’s stopping us from moving into our brother’s house with his wife and two kids after the love is gone.
Your $75,000 salary is enough to keep you leasing a new 5-series BMW every three years, a week in Miami every summer, a boys’ weekend in Vegas when the mood strikes and a few pairs of Gucci shoes. You’re able to do all this dope shit and still keep the lights on. Life is good and you’re comfortable, but you’re so far from being rich. Now imagine forking over $15,000 a year in spousal support for the foreseeable future on top of draining out your savings to make good on that divorce settlement. Things are going to get a lot less comfortable.
We all plan to stay married forever, but plans change, especially when they involve two grown-ass, capable and able-minded people. Plus, forever is a mighty long time. These aren’t the marriages of our parents and grandparents where they really stuck it out through thick and thin. Nowadays, you got two uncles and an aunt with “good hair” who aren’t Granny’s kids and aren’t present in any of the family photos on the fireplace. The current divorce rate is about 50 percent, but would you bet half of your “everything” on the flip of a coin? I mean, that’s 50-50, too. Of course not; that would be crazy.
But your marriage will be more stable because you’re a good judge of character. You’re only going to pick your soul mate to jump the broom with. All those people in failed marriages got married for the wrong reasons or to the wrong person. That’s right, you know this is going to last forever. If you’re so sure of yourself and sure of your love, wouldn’t the prenup just be a piece of paper? Think of it as car insurance because you never plan to get into an accident, but just in case you do, you wouldn’t want to be without.
In short? Prenups: Because being 43 and eating Top Ramen for dinner and living at home ain’t the wave.
Jean DeGrate is an Uptown DC native. Like most great thinkers of our time, he got his start writing on MySpace enlightening strippers and ratchets before they were a 'thing'. You can find him on the streets of DC looking fresh as hell in the case the feds are watching and clowning folks who think that means being Gucci down to the socks. And if you're looking for him on social media, the name's always the same - @JeanDeGrate.