[Du Jour] Just how fraught is the whole issue of prenups? Ask George Darren (not his real name) a prominent L.A. media executive. Darren loves his second wife very, very much. Only she is not his wife, despite the lavish Beverly Hills wedding. Virtually no one knows the truth—not friends, family, coworkers or children. The only people who know are their attorney and the one close friend who faux-married them. And why?
“My first marriage lasted four years and did not involve children, yet I lost one-third of all I worked for my entire life,” says Darren, 57, who came from a working-class family. “And I mean everything—a third of my house that she’d always signed quit-claims on, half of my retirement account. She even went after my frequent-flier miles. If she had taken the amount I wanted to settle for, she would have gotten the same as what she eventually did. But instead, she insisted I was hiding money, so hundreds of thousands went to attorneys and forensic accountants.”
Darren’s new wife, who has three children and a prestigious academic career that nevertheless pays a fraction of what he earns, also had a terrible divorce: She had to pay alimony to her deadbeat ex. Yet she felt hurt by Darren’s insistence on the prenup. Life is too full of unknowns, she feels, to draw up a hard-and-fast contract like this. She’d rather rely on love and good faith. And so it stands, four years after their beautiful ceremony, that they are still not legally bound.