Marriage means different things for different people, and it can mean more than one thing to any given person. Some view it as a solemn religious act, others view it as a contract, others view it as an expression of ultimate love. Regardless of how the parties getting married see it, the state views marriage as a legal obligation that binds the parties to certain rights and responsibilities should the parties ever decide to divorce. While no court has to approve a marriage, a divorce is not final until a state family court approves it, and oftentimes the courts must step in to divide assets, enforce alimony awards, and dictate each parties’ responsibilities.
Many couples would like to avoid the costly and tumultuous aspects of litigating a divorce and prevent that from ever being a possibility by entering into a prenuptial contract. With a prenuptial contract, both spouses know that they will be protected following a divorce without leaving their futures susceptible to unpredictable courts and aggressive attorneys. That said, while a prenuptial contract can be a wise decision, it can also be an awkward conversation prior to marriage. With that in mind, here are a few tips to broaching the topic of a prenuptial agreement:
- When you broach the discussion, avoid using imperatives. “We’re getting a prenup” is more likely to ruffle feathers and lead to a challenging conversation than a more gentle, inquisitive approach, like “Let’s talk about whether a prenup is a good idea.”
- Bring it up early in the relationship. This isn’t a second date discussion. However, if you know marriage is where your relationship is heading, make it clear that you’d like a prenuptial agreement. Having this conversation a week before the wedding will only add stress to an already chaotic time.
- Discuss it calmly. Thanks in part to how the media has misconstrued prenups – why they exist and how they work – your beloved may feel initially hurt by your request even to have the conversation. Be empathetic and listen. Calmly explain how the agreement protects both parties, and lay out your reasons for the request in an orderly, unemotional fashion.
- Let your intended express his or her concerns. If you know your future partner is resistant and trying to express resistance, don’t cut off what he or she is saying. Listen. Acknowledge the concern. Search for the underlying needs and feelings behind your partner’s resistance.
- Be prepared to have your partner talk with an unbiased third party. He or she may want cold, hard facts and objective insight into the situation. Accommodate those requests. The goal is to create an agreement (and a marriage) where everyone’s needs are heard and met.
- When you first bring up the subject, do so during a calm time. Obviously, bringing up a prenup during a fight over money is a bad idea, but avoid discussing it during good times, as well. For instance, don’t talk about it during a proposal. Don’t make it a big deal by having a fancy dinner. You don’t need to butter someone up to do what’s right.
- Stress the ability of both parties to think about what they want. Remember, a prenuptial agreement is only an agreement if both parties agree to it. It is not one person dictating demands to another. Encourage your future spouse to take the time to research and think about guarantees they would want included.
Call a Pasadena Prenup Attorney to Discuss Your Situation
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