Why Simon Cowell Thinks Marriage is Bad Business

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By the end of the week we will know the final six men and six women contestants on Fox's smash hit American Idol (NWS). All singers will be all vying for a prized recording deal with Clive Davis’ J records (SNE). The winner won't sign that contract until May, but one Idol star already announced he is anti-contract, well anti-marriage contract, anyway: Simon Cowell. Despite dating television correspondent Terri Seymour, 33, for five years, he has no plans to tie the knot. “I don't believe in marriage, certainly not in this business,” Cowell told The Mirror, citing fears of ending up in contentious legal proceedings, like Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. “The truth is that you get married and in a year or two they clean you out! It's just not going to work.”


The 48-year-old grumpy judge has assets to protect, with five estates—two in Los Angeles, one in Barbados, one in London and a lavish spread in Dubai. But he doesn’t have to compromise wedded bliss to secure his fortune. If you want to protect your individual assets, consider a prenuptial agreement– something Sir Paul didn’t do–to securely walk down the aisle. Whether you are keen on a prenup or the thought makes you cringe, with divorce rates near 50%, it’s a logical thing to consider before saying I do.


Saying the p-word no longer has to be taboo. “Most people today are pretty comfortable with [a prenup] because both sides are generally working and there’s more equality in incomes today,” says Steven Stolar, of Stolar & Associates, in Los Angeles, Calif. “I’ve been writing prenups for 23 years, and I’m finding more and more couples where each side wants it.” 


Divorce might seem unfathomable, but it’s worth your financial and emotional security to consider it. “Studies show that for every dollar you spend on a prenup, you save a thousand on divorce because litigation is so expensive,” says Arlene Dubin, author of Prenups for Lovers: A Romantic Guide to Prenuptial Agreements and a partner in the New York law firm Moses & Singer. Dubin estimates a prenuptial agreement will cost a couple anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more for “high net worth celeb situations in big cities.”  Couples can play a role in how much they want to rely on their attorneys, and “control the cost to a certain extent,” says Dubin.  If a couple includes their lawyers in all the negotiating, creating a massive back and forth, that can rack up the billable hours. “Is a couple judicious with their phone calls and emails to the lawyers? Or is the lawyer very involved in every negotiation?” asks Dubin. “The cost can vary dramatically.” 


Creating the terms of the prenup in an atmosphere of love puts you in the best frame of mind for negotiating a fair agreement, as opposed to the negativity surrounding divorce. To make sure you end up with an agreement that leaves both people satisfied, each party should have his or her own lawyer and it should be handled carefully. “The wrong tone can be set if one person is very heavy handed,” says Durbin. “It needs to be done as a collaborative process with a give and take where both parties can air their views.”


People have prenups to protect them in divorce, and having an agreement can make a divorce quicker, cheaper and easier. “You avoid expert fees, attorneys fees, it leaves it all out,” says Stolar. “It’s around $5,000 to write a prenup—$2,500 if it’s very simple. Divorces can be tens of thousands of dollars if they fight about everything, which they usually do.” Or, if you’re a former Beatle like Paul McCartney, a divorce can cost upwards of $100 million.  No wonder Simon's singing Love, Love Me Don't.

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