Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now, you’re thinking, “well, maybe I should get a prenup, but I don’t know how my partner will take it!” We get it. The topic of prenuptial agreements can be tough for some people! However, it doesn’t have to be like this. There are several things you can do to get your partner to agree to a prenuptial agreement. Some ways include explaining how prenups can be romantic and can even equalize power dynamics in a relationship. Even just choosing the right time and explaining your goals can really help move the needle.
Explain how prenups can actually be romantic
No, we’re not kidding! And, yes, prenups can actually be romantic, albeit not in the traditional candlelit-dinner-under-the-moonlight way. Think about it, what is the crux of a solid relationship? Communication! And what does a prenup do? Facilitate communication! Not to mention, candlelit dinners under the moonlight tend to fade away as the years pass, with children, work, family, and life throwing curveballs. Even great marriages go through periods where a date night just isn’t in the cards. At the end of the day, long-term romance really comes down to communication, commitment, and patience. What better way to bolster the underlying nature of romance than to get a prenup?
How does a prenup facilitate communication, you ask? It’s simple: the process of creating a prenup “forces” couples to discuss topics in-depth which may not have been discussed without a prenup. Couples learn new things about each other’s goals, expectations of the other, needs, and desires. Not only that but also the act of planning the future together as to things like retirement, divorce, death, etc., can be a catalyst for a truly deep understanding of their partner.
Tell them how it can equalize the power dynamic in the relationship
If one spouse is more financially well-off than the other, there may be an uneven balance of power in the relationship. The partner with less money may feel like they have less agency in the relationship since they may be dependent on their partner for financial support. A prenup can help with this. A prenup can equalize the power dynamic in the relationship by offsetting some of the financial inequalities.
For example, in a prenuptial agreement, you might include wealth-equalizing clauses that balance out some of the wealth between the parties. This may include giving the partner with less financial independence a lump sum or a certain piece of real estate, like the marital home in a divorce. There is also the option of alimony. Both of these types of clauses can help balance out the power dynamic because it allows the partner with less money to feel confident, independent, and stable, even if they were to divorce. This promotes a relationship’s open communication, collaboration, and balance.
Clearly state your desires for the prenup
This is fairly straightforward: tell them exactly what you want to do with the prenup. Maybe they imagine some extreme version of prenups that they see in the media where one person angrily demands a prenup, and it’s egregiously one-sided. Or maybe they assume you want to exclude alimony, but really all you want to do is protect a future inheritance. This could be less scary for your partner. Either way, the prenup discussions start now, and open communication is always beneficial in a relationship. The conversations will continue as you go down the prenup-making journey, but it starts here.
Have no clue what you want to include in a prenup? Not to worry, we have some questions to get your brain juices flowing:
- Do you want to keep property acquired before the wedding separate and not subject to division in a divorce? For example, if you owned a home prior to marrying your boo, do you want to keep that separate, or are you okay with potentially dividing it up in the event of a divorce?
- What about income earned during the marriage, such as salary, bonuses, commissions, rental property income, etc.? Should earned income during the marriage be treated as separate property (i.e., not subject to division upon divorce)?
- Think of appreciation in value and how you want that to be treated. Do you have a house that you owned before to the wedding that you want to keep the appreciation on that house also separate?
- How about gifts and inheritances? Do you anticipate a large sum of money from a grandparent in the future? How should this be handled?
- Will you two have a joint bank account, or will you maintain separate bank accounts throughout the marriage?
- Do either of you have any debt, and if so, how should this be treated?
- How about alimony? Will you two consider this or waive it altogether?
There are just a few of the questions you will have to ask yourself and discuss with our partner in the prenup-making process.
Choose the right time to discuss
This may seem obvious, but sometimes people are too antsy to get the conversation over with, so they jump in at the wrong time. For starters, legally speaking, you should be having this conversation at least three to six months before the wedding. Cutting your prenup too close to the wedding day puts it at risk for invalidation. For example, in California, there is something called the “7-day rule,” which requires seven days between the presentation of the final prenup and the actual signing of the contract to give each party enough time to consider the terms and find a lawyer if they choose.
So not only should you be considering the time frame here for the legality’s sake, but also for your partner’s sake. It’s not a fun feeling to be rushed into something that may take time to consider.
Don’t forget about choosing a time when you are both in good headspaces. What are the circumstances in your life at the moment? Ask yourself this: is the topic of prenuptial agreements a good conversation to have at this specific moment in time? For example, a prenup may not be a great idea after a big fight or after your fiancé had a horrible day at work.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]