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Prenup when marrying someone in recovery?

Old 05-13-2011, 07:32 AM
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Prenup when marrying someone in recovery?

I am looking for feedback from others who have gone down this path.

I am now 17 months sober. Met my GF three months before I admitted myself into treatment in Dec 2009. She stuck by me through those six weeks and the many months since as I worked on my sobriety, which I consider to be pretty strong at this point. I work my program, have a sponsor, go to meetings regularly (4+ times a week still), pray and meditate, etc. I consider myself to be pretty happy joyous and free.

Now the complicated parts: I am unemployed. We are pregnant (she is now @ 7 weeks). We are not married.

My GF and I are pretty independent, both have our own homes, and are reasonably financially secure. She has said that the important part is that I be a part of this childs life, that marriage is not necessary solely because she is pregnant. That said, I do believe she would prefer in her heart of hearts that we marry. She just doesn't want to force me into it.

I was raised catholic, so this is pretty foreign territory for me. I am inclined to marry her but realize that absent the baby I wouldn't choose to do so at this time (b/c no job, still early sobriety, etc.). Most importantly, I recognize that while my sobriety is pretty solid, like they say in the financial advertisements, past performance is no guarantee of future results. If I were to relapse (I haven't yet and have no intention or even random thoughts of doing so) this could get ugly fast, and I do not want to put her in a position of having to fight her way back to sanity.

So I'm thinking of a prenup. I haven't thought it out thoroughly, but basically what we have accumulated prior to marriage (retirement accounts) stays spearate, what we accumulate together is joint. God forbid that I relapse, "my half" of the accumulated stays for the childs benefit, and she has some pre-determined fast track to an uncontested divorce regardless what I might say at the time.

I haven't discussed this with my GF, because I know that this is negative thinking. But it's also realistic - you don't have to hang around SR long to read some outrageous horror stories about marriages gone bad due to addiction. Thoughts?
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:45 AM
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I don't have advice but I think that what you're saying about the pre-nup makes sense. It's like pre-emptive planning. No one wants to think about the worst case scenario but by doing so, and coming up with a 'what if' plan in the event it does happen, you are, in my opinion being really smart and lessening the distress that you both would go through in the event the worst case scenario does occur.

I guess the biggest question is do you want to get married?

Are you considering getting married bc that way there can be a pre-nup that sets some parameters? I don't mean that to sound obnoxious-- it just popped into my head and I wondered...Because if that is part of the reason, I'd imagine that you could have something similar drawn up even if you aren't married-- that outlines how custody would work, how to provide for your child, and dividing up anything you collectively accumulate as a couple...

Congrats on the pregnancy-- are you looking fwd to being a Dad?
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I guess the biggest question is do you want to get married?

Congrats on the pregnancy-- are you looking fwd to being a Dad?
Re marriage, I love this woman - our relationship is more than I would have ever thought possible (then again, I staggered through life from college to 44). But the honest answer is to say that the larger part is for the childs benefit and that's how I was raised. You get a girl pregnant, that's what you do if you have a shred of decency in you.

We have only known for about three weeks. We went for the first OBG visit on monday, and thats when it really sunk in, watching the ultrasound. I am hopeful, and scared. At our ages (she is in her 40s) the rate of miscarriages in the first tri is really high. And about my sobriety, it's like the difference between walking on a line painted on the floor and walking a tightrope without a net. The stakes of my sobriety are no longer mine alone to bear. I really haven't adjusted to all this means - but I trust that it will work out if I remain honest, open and willing.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:11 AM
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I am inclined to marry her but realize that absent the baby I wouldn't choose to do so at this time
OK, so I wasn't raised Catholic. And my HP sees more to the heart than to rituals & routines. Here's my thing: If your GF says she wants you in the baby's life but she doesn't need you guys to get married -- listen to her.

It sounds like one of those situations where both of you are doing what you think the other person expects, and that's rarely a good thing.

If I were in that situation, I would probably wait and get married when it felt right -- maybe get engaged to mark your commitment without all the legal implications. BUT I'm saying that living in a live-and-let-live state and without religious family breathing down my neck.

And congratulations -- both on your sobriety and the baby.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:24 AM
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I have to agree with lillamy, although I am pretty traditional and also stinging from a marriage that never got started because of alcohol, so I may be projecting a bit. But taking the BIG steps one step at a time - albeit a bit out of order - sounds reasonable to me. Just like we don't need to have all the answers at once, we don't need to do all the actions at once. Engagement is a nice commitment without going the extra legal step just yet.

Pre-nup...check with an attorney in your state. What you describe sounds a lot like how my state works already. Everything pre-marriage is separately owned while everything accumulated during marriage is joint.

Congratulations!

Last edited by Tuffgirl; 05-13-2011 at 08:25 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
OK, so I wasn't raised Catholic. And my HP sees more to the heart than to rituals & routines. Here's my thing: If your GF says she wants you in the baby's life but she doesn't need you guys to get married -- listen to her.

It sounds like one of those situations where both of you are doing what you think the other person expects, and that's rarely a good thing.

If I were in that situation, I would probably wait and get married when it felt right -- maybe get engaged to mark your commitment without all the legal implications. BUT I'm saying that living in a live-and-let-live state and without religious family breathing down my neck.

And congratulations -- both on your sobriety and the baby.
Well said!!! 110% I couldn't agree more and I am Catholic.

You can always get married. Take this one step at a time. Wait until the time is right both logistically and emotionally.

Baby is coming. Take care of the mama. Find work. Step up your recovery because even good things are stressful and new babies are very stressful. Pregnant woman are not always super loving and easy to be around. Your relationship will change - lots of good things will be added - but it is a process to work through. Just take it one day at a time and don't overload it with a marriage you were not previously planning and a wedding. :noo:

Love, patience, showing responsibility, and a reduction in stress in any way possible is what is needed right not - IMO.


Congrats on both the baby and the sobriety. In re-reading my post sounds kind of dooms day and I don't mean that at all. I think a baby is wonderful and you are in for blessings you never imagined. I'm very happy for you.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:23 PM
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Congrats, Eddie! On everything.

I think you got some good advice here, but you need to discuss all this with HER. I think you've made it very clear that you want to do the right thing by her, you want to do the right thing by the baby, you want to protect them more than anything else. Lay it all out there, tell her how much you love her, and the two of you decide what makes you all feel "right". And either decision (marriage or not) is completely defensible if that is what you both decide.

I also think prenups are a great idea for anyone who's accumulated anything in life before marriage or has any kind of complications. It's like having insurance--you hope you will never need it, but it protects everybody if the worst happens.

Hugs--I'll let someone else catch the bouquet when the time comes.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:45 PM
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I agree with THUMPER....everything has its moments...and your moments of parents are coming 1st..(in a way)...when you know in your heart when the time is right...then thats it..the time is right...and so will she....take it step by step...but one word of advice...
KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN at all times...foundation is a good start and so is honesty...

prenup..sure why not? never hurts to discuse it with her..

congrats on being the before stages of being a dad....wow, look what you did and its a good thing
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:46 PM
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"What gives me more peace?" is what I ask myself when I need to take a decision.

What gives you and your partner more peace at this moment?

I agree that a baby is "too much" already. Focus on your family's health, and your health, and that's all.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:39 PM
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If I were in her shoes, the most important thing for me would be that the father stay sober and is able to be a productive, responsible and healthy part of my child's life. Not the ring or the marriage.

Kids are stressful, marriage is stressful.. Fatherhood will give you a new responsibility. Marriage will add on another one. If you don't feel strong enough then listen to what your gut is telling you. That is taking on huge life changes in a short amount of time.

The good thing is that you are thinking this through carefully. Communication with your gf is very important.

Yeah in a perfect world we think babies come after marriage but times change and what is most important to the child is that dad be sober, stable and able to participate in his/her life.

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Old 05-13-2011, 07:11 PM
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Don't get too wrapped up in the Catholic thing. They also taught you not to have premarital sex. You can't cherry-pick what parts of Catholicism get to drive your decisions and what parts don't.

Also, you know well that early in recovery doing anything stressful is to be carefully, carefully considered, and few things are as stressful as marriage (and the baby, blessing that he/she is, never-the-less comes with stress).

What's most important is your sobriety because without that there is no potential wife, there is no child in your life, and there is no marriage. What's important after that is the child. What's important after that is your girlfriend. What's not important is marriage. And, in my opinion, there is only one reason to marry a woman-- because in your heart of hearts you want to share the rest of your life with her-- to be her husband, and have her as your wife.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:37 AM
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In that a pre-nup protects the interests of both husband and wife in the opinion of many it is a good idea if not a must for everyone.

I had one with my wife and who in the world would have ever imagined addiction would be in the card after a few years. Usually falling out of love, losing interest, finding someone new, etc etc.

Alcoholism changed the game and changed all the rules. Without the pre-nup our young child's education/future would likely suffer because the AW would sip and p*i*s*s* money away like there no tomorrow, like she's been doing already before divorce. Not to mention tons of money not eaten by lawyers.

In the case when those marrying are in recovery there is a definite risk of relapse and insanity all over again.

What does logic and common sense tell you about pre-nup or no pre-nup ???
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:46 AM
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Thanks all for the input. It largely confirms what I thought, and fortunately my gf and I have very open lines of communication & discussed the whole marriage thing. She has said that we should treat baby and marriage as two unrelated issues. I agree that is the best option under the circumstances, but cannot deny the pull of how I was raised and (total honesty) wanting to avoid controversy and looking badly. Plus the self-doubt as to my motives, whether I am acting out of fear in this decision-making process. I appreciate all the opinions and feedback - it's one of SR's strongest suits in that everyone is anonymous and there is a ton of hard-earned experience in this community.

Gracias!
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