In today's world of debt, finances, and uncertainty, more and more couples are considering prenuptial agreements.
In a perfect world, your marriage would be blissful and last forever; however, this isn't always the case. Prenuptial agreements aren't just for wealthy celebrity couples. If you or your partner have a lot of debt, a prenup can protect the other party in the event of a marriage dissolution. Additionally, if either of you are bringing in children from another marriage, a prenuptial agreement protects their interests as well.
However, many people have negative preconceived notions about prenuptial agreements. Use this guide to facilitate a productive conversation with your intended.
Talk About It Early
If you want a prenuptial agreement, don't wait until a few weeks before the wedding. Your request may come as a shock to your partner. You will likely have to have several discussions that can last weeks at a time. Don't introduce this new, big decision in the height of pre-wedding stress. Talk about it before, or just after you get engaged.
Consider the Timing
Start the discussion when you are both in a calm frame of mind. Don't bring prenuptial agreements up when you are in the middle of a fight or if either of you are going through a particularly stressful time with work or school. This can be a difficult conversation, and you don't want residual emotions from other issues to make it harder.
Choose an Appropriate Venue
This conversation should take place privately. Don't try to start this conversation at your parents' house or in the middle of a busy restaurant. You and your partner should be able to discuss things frankly without fear of others overhearing or interjecting their opinions.
Frame the Discussion Properly
Many people have never considered a prenuptial agreement before. Your partner may consider it a silly agreement for celebrities with too much money and short marriages. If that's the only context your partner has ever viewed prenuptial agreements in, it's understandable if they are a little apprehensive.
Talk about marriage like a contract. If left alone, the terms of your contract will fall under whatever the province says, but with a prenuptial agreement, you and your partner get to customise the terms according to your needs as a couple and as individuals.
Explain to your partner that nobody wants to think about a divorce as they begin a marriage, but isn't it better to make a plan when you both are in love and want to be fair to each other? In the event of a divorce, prenuptial agreements make it easier on both parties.
Be Honest About Your Motivations
Don't hide behind your parents or your lawyer—if you want a prenuptial agreement, then be upfront and honest about it. Talk to your partner about why you want a prenup and how you think it will help your future marriage.
Be respectful throughout the process, but also be honest.
Consider Your Partner's Feelings
Prepare yourself for a wide variety of reactions from your partner. Your partner might feel like you are planning for your marriage to end before it even begins. Talk through their emotions and concerns. Remember, you are joining two lives into one; it's important to make decisions together.
Start a Discussion — Not a List of Demands
When you start the discussion, don't lay out everything you want unless you want to overwhelm and frustrate your partner. Have a frank discussion about finances and what you both want your financial futures to look like together.
Take this opportunity to take inventory of both of your finances and plan how you want to move forward. This is an excellent chance to discuss your financial plans as a new family.
If you want your relationship to make it through this discussion, you must be willing to listen to your partner's views and compromise accordingly. Neither side should dictate the terms of the agreement.
Be Honest About What You Want
Don't come in with a list of demands, but don't hide your preferences either.
If your partner has a significant amount of debt and you want to account for that in the agreement, be honest. If you have significantly more money than your intended and want that to be a consideration if you get divorced, talk about that as well. Respect your partner's feelings, but don't hide what you really want.
Plan for Different Scenarios
You may have discussed what your future will look like with your fiancé, but plans don't always work out as well as we think they will. Your prenuptial agreement should cover a wide variety of scenarios. For example, your prenup should account for the following scenarios:
Discussing a prenuptial agreement can be difficult, but when you approach the subject with respect, love, and honesty, you can create an agreement that makes both parties comfortable. If you are ready to draw up a prenuptial agreement, contact a family lawyer today.