If the concept of a pre-nuptial agreement is something that makes you think about the Hollywood elite, you aren’t alone. Most people believe that drafting legal documents to protect their “fortunes” in case of divorce is a concept reserved for, well, those with fortunes.
However, a pre-nuptial agreement (pre-nup) is a good idea for any couple about to walk down the aisle. Think about it this way: if you are meant to be together forever, will an honest discussion about finances really impact your love for each other? Hopefully not.
In fact, a great idea, according to Arlene G. Dubin’s Prenups for Lovers(Random House, 2001), is to use the topic of a pre-nuptial agreement as the catalyst for important financial discussions you and your betrothed should be having anyway. These might include decisions regarding who will handle what bills going forward, how decisions about major purchases will be made, and which portion of your combined income, after bills, will be saved, donated or spent on discretionary purchases.
Of course, most people who are fortunate enough to have significant financial means or other assets may very well want to be thinking about ways to protect those belongings should the marriage end in divorce. If you are in possession of family heirlooms such as jewelry or artwork, or have received an inheritance that you wouldn’t want divided during divorce negotiations, a pre-nup is the way to protect those items.
Prior Proper Planning
The conversation about a pre-nuptial agreement should be well-planned. Don’t bring it up a few days before the wedding. Similarly, don’t raise the issue in front of others – including family members. Don’t be accusatory or hard-headed. Remember, this is an extremely sensitive and private conversation. Treat it with the loving care you would hope your significant other would use. Choose a time and place where you can bring up the topic and share you reasons for wanting the pre-nup in place.
Experts suggest that you are open and honest about your reasons, express your concerns and describe how you feel you can best protect your financial futures by squaring away any issues that could become problems in the future. Be open to the discussion, including negative reactions or questions, the other person will have. This may be the first of many conversations in which you have to compromise. Be prepared to do so.
Talk to an Experienced Family Law Attorney About Your Pre-Nuptial Agreement
At Posternock Apell, PC we know that raising the topic of pre-nups can be difficult – regardless of how in love you are with your soon-to-be spouse. We also know that it’s an extremely necessary and smart conversation to have. Talk to us about the do’s and don’ts of pre-nuptials; our attorneys have considerable experience guiding couples through the process. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get your paperwork in order so you can begin your happily ever after as soon as possible.