Stay or Go? How Financial Issues May Impact Anthony Weiner and His Wife
Even though Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, hasn't expressed any plans to dump her husband in the wake of his sexting scandal, the blogosphere – and especially a lot of New Yorkers – are all weighing in and asking: Should she stay or should she go?
I would not presume to even offer an opinion on something so personal. But it's worth noting that Abedin's decision probably isn't as simple as many people might think -- namely because of a huge number of financial questions that are daunting at best.First off, was there a prenuptial agreement? And if not, should Abedin be seeking to create a postnup, less than one year after the couple tied the knot in July 2010?
If Weiner and Abedin didn't have a prenup, they wouldn't be alone. Nationwide, only 3% of married or engaged couples have prenuptial agreements, according to a 2010 survey from Harris Interactive. Even fewer married couples create postnups after they walk down the aisle.
Then there are troubling questions about Weiner's overall financial standing. Some have suggested he's deep in credit card debt. Others believe that Weiner, 46, is fighting hard to keep his job because he desperately needs his $174,000 a year annual Congressional salary, or at least some high-paying job.
And what about the couple's housing issues? The Democratic congressman and his 35-year-old wife had listed their Queens, N.Y., condo for sale and were said to be house-hunting for a bigger place. But they yanked the real estate listing after Weiner's online sexcapades came to light.
If Weiner and Abedin did separate, or ultimately divorce, would it be in her best interest to try to keep the condo or perhaps stick with any new house the couple might jointly purchase?
Probably not, experts say.
"If you think, as many divorcing females do, that you should stay in the family home, that's generally a bad idea," says Susan Carlisle, a CPA who specializes in mediation and litigation support for family law. Carlisle says that one big divorce mistake women often make is trying to hang onto a home after a separation and not realizing how expensive the property will be to maintain on just one salary.
And last, but certainly not least, Abedin has another major consideration to take into account when contemplating both marriage and money quandries: She's pregnant with the couple's first child. So obviously, she has to be thinking of protecting her unborn child's health – including the baby's financial well being.
But how does a mother-to-be in Abedin's position prepare financially for the worst (i.e. divorce) even while she appears to be hoping for the best? If Abedin should pursue a legal separation or divorce, the extent of any alimony or child support she would be able to get for the couple's baby isn't immediately clear.
Weiner has currently taken a leave of absence from his congressional seat, as he seeks treatment for an unspecified problem. That hasn't changed the enormous pressure he faces, mainly from members of his own political party, to just resign and end the whole media circus now surrounding him and other members of Congress because of his sexual indiscretions on various social media sites like Twitter.
As for her own career standing, Huma Abedin doesn't appear to have missed a beat. Abedin is a longtime personal aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and earns a six-figure salary of her own. So even as Weinergate reached a feverish pitch in the media, Abedin continued to work, traveling to Africa with Clinton, maintaining a professional image, and generally staying above the fray.
That's why one thing is certain for Abedin, at least from a financial standpoint.
Whether she does decide to stand by her man or opts to cut her losses and end the marriage, if Huma Abedin is in need of immediate cash, there's certain to be a lucrative book deal, paid magazine interview, or made-for-TV movie that's hers for the asking.