Avoid Getting Royed


As President of the Wambsgans Fan Club and a card-carrying Shiv apologist, I miss these two miserable people more than any nonfictional person should.

Tom secured his place as my favorite character from the pilot episode, when his inimitable capacity to kiss up and punch down, and his overreactions to everything, were on full comical display.

And if we take it as a given that every Succession character is their own unique brand of horrible, then why shouldn’t Shiv be allowed to be every bit the entitled backstabber that her father and three brothers are?

As Shivvy and Tomelette rode off into the finale’s sunset, hand hovering above hand, I wished I knew what their Premarital Agreement said. As my fellow die-hard Successionheads will recall, Shiv presented Tom with a draft to review, and all our information about their negotiation comes from their hilarious dialogue, which began with Tom’s eviscerating opening salvo:

“You know what? I’m not even gonna look at that. Just show me where to sign.”

This made me wince. Premarital agreements comprise a significant part of my family law practice. I enjoy drafting them, and I have self-written, zero-legalese templates that address financial division in the event of divorce and financial practices during marriage. Also, I have my clients consider estate and financial planning.

When clients come to me with a Wambsganian naiveté, I have them imagine a future in which they leave their marriage. At that point, wouldn’t they thank me for pushing them to think through certain marital decisions and post-marital options?

If they behaved like Tom, would they not regret treating their Premarital Agreement negotiation as a meaningless formality, allowing (let’s face it) Logan Roy’s attorney to determine their post-marital financial circumstances?

In deciding to stay with Shiv, part of Tom’s calculation had to be that while he had all the operational power, Shiv had the lion’s share of the money. I would have helped him prevent having to decide between power and money, or at the very least, to make any such premarital concession with a little more forethought and awareness than this:

Tom: “My lawyer was saying that”—

Shiv: “You mean your mom says?”

Tom: “She’s a highly respected attorney in the Twin Cities, Shiv.”

Shiv: “Sure. So what does your mom say?”

Tom: “She says that the prenup is a little unconscionable. It’s a legal term. I don’t care.”

Shiv: “Fine. You can look it over.”

Tom: “K.”

Shiv: “Guess I just got Wambsgansed, huh?”

No, Tom got Royed. In California anyway, “unconscionability at the time of enforcement” is the legal standard governing a judge deciding whether to uphold or void any Premarital Agreement provision. Either this agreement is sufficiently conscionable to pass or Tom was downplaying his horror here.

Either way, he should use his newfound leverage to amend the Premarital Agreement.