The Prenup Talk
Many clients ask, 'Why do I need a prenup? I have no money, and he's broke, too! Plus, we'll never get divorced." What if your partner asks you for one? First, don't take offense. Premarital or "prenup" agreements are more popular and much less stigmatized than years past.
If you're the one asking for the prenup, talk to your partner well in advance of the wedding.
The time right before a wedding can be a very stressful. Avoid adding additional pressure by asking for a prenup far in advance- at least six months! The sooner you ask, the sooner the two of you have to iron out the details (and also bring in any mediator or attorneys' help as needed).
Plan where and when you are going to talk to your spouse about the prenup. Choose somewhere private to explain calmly how your spouse will also benefit from the prenuptial agreement. Reassure them as often as needed that the agreement in no way takes away from your commitment to them or the marriage.
If your spouse-to-be reacts negatively or refuses to sign a prenup, hiring a mediator may help. Alternatively, couples find that it helps to visit a relationship counselor or family attorney or friends. A trusted professional outside of the couple may be able to remind your partner of practical reasons to have an agreement in place.
Why have a prenup? Well, for many reasons. Some items that can be addressed in a prenup, for example, are confidentiality clauses and agreements to mediate before going to court in the case of separation or divorce. These clauses can protect both parties' privacy. Clauses can protect one party from carrying responsibility for the other's debts, including the oftentimes massive student debt that can come with education and student loans. Remember that issues related to children can generally not be addressed in a prenup as they are considered against public policy.
Create the agreement together! The process of creating the agreement is meant to be a shared experience! Work with your partner and make a list of items that matter to each of you, including any non-negotiables. Again, reassure your partner that a prenup does not take away from your commitment to them.
Your final step is to talk to an attorney about how to formalize the agreement. Be sure that you reach out to attorneys well in advance of the wedding so that she or he has time to prepare and edit the document as needed so that both you and your spouse can enter the agreement timely and comfortably. (Ideally, months in advance!)
If you and your partner are considering marriage, I wish you all the best for a smooth agreement and happy marriage! -Kate