(OK I know I’ve been quiet, but there’s been a lot on my plate… exciting stuff, but a lot… I’ll get there!)
This morning I experienced two sides of the same coin: the legal effects of a marriage.
After pilates, followed by coffee and The Most Delicious Egg and Chorizo Tart (from Jardine – seriously, if you are in CT, you are doing yourself a disservice not to have tasted these beauties. If you are NOT in CT… think about planning a visit around them. Yum. Tuesday morning routine is grand…) Rooster and I had our appointment with an old classmate to draw up our ante-nuptial contract: the ANC (also called a pre-nup in other parts of the world, but one of the perks of being a previous colony is that we use cool words like “ante-” instead of “pre-“…).
It has never been an option for us not to have an ANC – the fact that we both run our own businesses is reason enough for us to have drawn up the contract as it allows our joint estate to be protected from the possibility of insolvency in either estate.
The experience leading up to the consultation this morning has been fascinating as we have discussed and debated our philosophical attitude towards money, assets, debt and partnership in marriage. Luckily, we’re pretty much on the same page… and where we’ve differed we’ve been able to do so gracefully and with compromise and (often) learning. It is also very important to us that we incorporate accrual into our ANC such that we can share in the fruits of the marriage: the philosophy being that success for either one of us is most likely to come as a result of the other’s support.
It was also a very interesting experience for me being on the other side of the “lawyer’s table”. My classmate was pretty brilliant at striking the line between explaining the concepts clearly and not being too patronising. I won’t mention her name here, but she’s a director at McLoughlin Inc – if any CT brides are looking for an attorney to help out with their ANC.
From one meeting with an old classmate to another: I am helping co-ordinate the divorce proceedings of another old classmate as a professional favour (I try to avoid family law work on the whole). Their divorce is fairly amicable (largely due to her grace – I think she could have been a lot nastier, but she is wise enough to know that the heartache that comes with nastiness isn’t worth the fight) and clean, but is nevertheless a good reminder of the way things can go.
As bizarre as it might seem, I think that every marriage should start with a very good chat about what will happen in the event that it ends. And, of course, it will end in one of those nasty “D” words – divorce or death. It can only help to enter into marriage with your eyes wide open and with at least a plan for how to deal with the dissolution of your marriage. And somehow the superstitious and irrational Saartjie feels that if you have a plan, you might never need to use it…
Being aware of how finite something important (like marriage) is often reminds one of how precious it is. I jokingly encourage all my friends who are about to wed to spend a morning in divorce court just to see how EASY it is for it to end (at least it’s better than hanging out at a funeral parlour…)! But seriously, I believe that if you love someone and your relationship with them enough, you will fight to preserve what you have.
Which reminds me: time to update my will. You should too!