If you clicked on this blog, you’re probably in a sticky situation. You want to get a prenup, but your partner is absolutely against it. In fact, they’ve drawn a line and said no. How do you cope with this situation? Let’s explore the reasons why someone might refuse to sign a prenuptial agreement and provide tips on how to deal with this rock and a hard place you’re in.
Reasons why someone might refuse to sign a prenuptial agreement
Before we dive into strategies for coping with a spouse who refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand why someone might be resistant to the idea. Knowing the “why” may also help you get some insight on how to proceed in your specific situation. Some common reasons include the following:
Reason #1: They feel insulted or distrusted
Your partner might feel insulted if you bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement. They might see it as a lack of trust or an implication that you do not have faith in the marriage. This can lead to hurt feelings and make it harder to have an open and honest conversation about the topic.
Your position: the reputation of prenups has been negative for many years due to the media and Hollywood’s portrayal of the type of people who tend to get prenups. On the contrary, what if we flipped the thinking to a different context and thought of prenups as a way to facilitate communication and strengthen relationships because prenups lay out detailed plans, goals, and expectations of one another?
Reason #2: They think it means you don’t believe in the marriage
Some people may believe that a prenuptial agreement is a sign that you do not believe in the marriage or that you are planning for it to fail. This can make them resistant to the idea, as they want to start their marriage on a positive note and believe that a prenuptial agreement would be a negative way to begin.
Your position: the fact of the matter is nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce. It’s not a matter of not believing in the marriage or your relationship but rather being a realist when it comes to statistics. Would you not get car insurance because you thought it meant you didn’t believe in your driving skills? No! You get car insurance for the “what-ifs” in life!
Reason #3: They do not want to think about divorce
For some people, the idea of divorce is a difficult and uncomfortable topic. They may be resistant to signing a prenuptial agreement because they do not want to think about the possibility of the marriage ending. This can make it challenging to have an open and honest conversation about the subject.
Your position: not thinking about something doesn’t make it go away. The harsh reality of life is “stuff happens,” and sometimes you need to plan for it. And if you don’t, you might (~50% odds) face harsh consequences.
Reason #4: They do not understand the benefits
Finally, some people may be resistant to signing a prenuptial agreement simply because they do not understand the benefits. They may believe that it is unnecessary or that it will do more harm than good. In these situations, it can be helpful to (politely) educate them on the benefits and how a prenuptial agreement can protect both parties.
Your position: ignorance is no defense! You should learn about the pros and cons of a prenup before making your decision. And, believe it or not, prenups can benefit anyone, not just the wealthier person, contrary to popular belief.
Strategies for coping with a spouse who refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement
Now that you understand the “why,” let’s talk about the “how” (to cope, that is). If your partner is resistant to the idea of a prenuptial agreement, there are several strategies you can use to deal with their refusal:
- Have an open and honest conversation
The first step in coping with a spouse who refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement is to have an honest conversation about the topic. Try to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, and be prepared to listen to your partner’s concerns. Explain your own reasons for wanting a prenuptial agreement and try to find common ground.
- Educate your partner on the benefits
Fair warning: try to avoid being condescending or patronizing here. When we say “educate,” we just mean bringing them information that they may not be willing to research for themselves (as they are resistant to the idea as a whole and not likely to be doing any research).
Why “educate” them? Well, some people may just not understand how prenups can actually benefit them. Hollywood and the media have done some serious damage to the prenup’s reputation, and people tend to view them in a negative light. You can try to change that narrative with cold, hard facts.
Take the time to show your partner the advantages of a prenuptial agreement, such as protecting both spouses in the event of a divorce and clarifying financial expectations.
If your partner is still not budging on their willingness to sign a prenuptial agreement, consider finding a compromise that works for you both. For example, you could agree to a lump sum payment (paying them $X upon the termination of the marriage) or leave in certain assets you own or will own.
- Seek professional help
If you and your partner are still unable to come to an agreement, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a professional. A mediator or a therapist is a good place to start. Lawyers can also help in this situation by explaining how the prenup would benefit your partner and their experiences with prenups, but hiring a lawyer can also come off as aggressive or conflicting. You may want to leave hiring a lawyer in this situation as a last-ditch effort if you think it would come off as more aggressive.
As for hiring a therapist, attending a few couple’s therapy sessions to hash out the prenup conversation could help you two with communication and seeing each other’s side of the coin.
- Consider postponing the wedding
If your partner is absolutely unwilling to sign a prenuptial agreement and you feel strongly about protecting your assets, it may be worth considering postponing the wedding. While this can be a difficult decision to make, it is important to prioritize your own financial security and well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about prenups and significant others that don’t want one
Let’s talk about some frequently asked questions surrounding partners who refuse to get a prenup.
Q: Is a prenuptial agreement necessary for marriage?
A: No, a prenuptial agreement is not a prerequisite for marriage. You can, of course, get married without a prenup. Getting one is a personal decision that should be made based on individual circumstances.
Q: How can I bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement with my partner?
A: It is important to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Explain your own reasons for wanting a prenuptial agreement, and be prepared to listen to your partner’s concerns. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on your state’s laws surrounding prenups and divorce to ensure that you can back up anything you say.
Q: Can a prenuptial agreement be changed after it is signed?
A: Yes, (as long as it is allowed in your state); a prenuptial agreement can be changed or modified after it is signed, but both spouses must agree to the changes and follow state procedure for getting a prenup amendment.
Q: Are prenups usually one-sided?
A: Prenups should not be one-sided. They should make both parties feel comfortable about the potential divorce outcome. In fact, if a court finds your prenup to be too one-sided, it can actually be thrown out!
Q: Can a prenuptial agreement be challenged in court?
A: Yes, a prenuptial agreement can be challenged in court, which is why it is important to have a well-drafted agreement to minimize the risk of challenges.
Q: Does getting a prenup mean I don’t trust my partner?
A: Not necessarily! A prenup is a legal document that may be used to protect assets in the event of a divorce, but it is also a way to outline the financial obligations both during and after the marriage, as well as align expectations of one another. Many of our couples see the prenup as a way to establish clear communication and expectations before entering a marriage.
While a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for protecting your assets, handling any backlash from your partner regarding a prenup can be challenging. By having an open and honest conversation, educating your partner on the benefits, and finding a compromise, you may be able to reach an agreement. If all else fails, seeking the advice of a professional or postponing the wedding may be necessary to protect your financial security.
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]