Prenups can be a tense topic, we get it. It’s no casual convo over a quick lunch break. It’s more like a sit-down over dinner or after dinner and hash out lots of different issues. But, what happens when you guys can’t agree? Maybe it’s that you can’t agree on getting a prenup altogether or maybe it’s something specific that goes into the prenup. Whatever the disagreement is, we have some effective strategies to help bridge these differences, promoting understanding and compromise throughout the prenup-making process.
Common Differences in Opinion
Why do people have differences in opinions over prenups? Well, when it comes to “legal stuff,” people tend to have varying reasons and concerns that contribute to disagreements with their partners. Let’s discuss some of those concerns below:
Financial Priorities and Expectations
Each person may have different financial priorities and expectations for their future. Differing views on how assets should be managed and divided can create conflicts when discussing a prenuptial agreement. For example, if one spouse is asking the other spouse to stay home with the kids to save money on daycare expenses, but that spouse doesn’t want to do that… there may be a mismatch in expectations. Another example would be if one spouse wants to retire at 50 so they want to save $X per year, while the other spouse is more of a “YOLO” type when it comes to finances, there may be some issues.
Fairness and Trust
Disagreements can arise when one partner feels that the prenup itself and/or the proposed terms of the agreement are unfair or coming from a place of distrust. For example, if one person thinks that the prenup is coming from a place of distrust, they may feel that it reflects on the relationship. This isn’t necessarily the case, of course.
Attitudes Towards the Future
People may have differing attitudes towards the future and the potential outcomes of their relationship. One partner might prioritize security and protection, while the other may focus more on emotional well-being. These contrasting perspectives can lead to disagreements over the necessity and terms of a prenuptial agreement. For example, let’s say Sarah places a ton of value on financial security and wants to ensure the protection of her assets in the event of a divorce. She believes that a prenuptial agreement is a practical and responsible approach to protect herself, financially. On the other hand, her partner, Sam, prioritizes emotional well-being and believes that a prenup may undermine the foundation of their relationship. He views the agreement as a potential barrier to building a future based on trust and shared experiences. These differing attitudes towards the future and the contrasting emphasis on financial security versus emotional well-being can lead to disagreements. Enter: open and respectful communication to find a middle ground that addresses both partners’ concerns.
Personal Experiences and Values
Past experiences, cultural backgrounds, and personal values related to marriage and commitment can shape peoples’ opinions on prenuptial agreements. Varying beliefs about the purpose, significance, and potential consequences of a prenup can contribute to disagreements between partners. For instance, let’s say John has a friend’s cousin’s sister who had a prenup that went wrong– it wasn’t negotiated properly, so it ended up not doing her much good (hint: why negotiating is so important). John may then have a misconceived notion about prenups based on this one experience, but in reality, that situation is NOT the majority, it’s simply John’s personal experience.
Tips for Overcoming Differences
Now that you understand WHY people have differences in opinions, let’s talk about some things you can do to overcome these differences.
Importance of Communication
Communication is the number one tool you can use to address the differences in opinion on prenuptial agreements. Both partners should be open and honest about their concerns, fears, and expectations. While one person is talking, the other person should be actively listening (not just waiting their turn to talk). By creating a safe space for dialogue, it becomes easier to understand each other’s perspectives and work towards finding common ground.
Seek Professional Legal Advice
Consulting with a family law attorney experienced in prenuptial agreements can provide objective guidance and legal insights. They can help clarify misconceptions, answer questions, and address concerns, which can contribute to more productive discussions between partners. Oftentimes, attorneys will offer a 15 minute free consultation to allow you a chance to ask some initial questions and see if this is right for you.
Compromise and Flexibility
A good prenup is one that is negotiated properly. How do you negotiate properly? Well, one important aspect of negotiation is COMPROMISE and FLEXIBILITY. Each person should be willing to listen and find middle ground that satisfies their needs and concerns. Flexibility is key to achieving a mutually beneficial outcome. When a prenup is not negotiated to its full potential for both partners, you run the risk of having a prenup that doesn’t “work” for you and if a divorce ever happens, you will be in quite a tough position.
Focus on Common Goals
Remind yourselves of the shared goals and aspirations you have as a couple. Do you both dream of retiring in Italy by age 50? Maybe you both want to pay for your kids’ college and weddings. Whatever the case may be, by shifting the focus to the bigger picture, it becomes easier to navigate through disagreements and find solutions that align with your joint vision for the future.
Understand Each Other’s Concerns
Take the time to truly understand your partner’s concerns about a prenuptial agreement. By empathizing and actively listening (i.e., not just waiting your turn to speak), you can address their worries and find ways to alleviate them, fostering a deeper sense of trust and understanding.
Explore Alternative Options
If a traditional prenuptial agreement does not align with your values or needs, consider exploring alternative options. There are various approaches, such as postnuptial agreements, which may better suit your circumstances.
The Role of Trust
Establishing and nurturing trust is absolutely vital during the prenuptial agreement process. Trust serves as the bedrock of any strong and thriving relationship, and broaching the topic of a prenup can undoubtedly put it to the ultimate test. However, by consciously prioritizing trust and reaffirming your unwavering commitment to one another, you can approach these potentially difficult conversations with a sense of ease and understanding. Remember, trust is the glue that holds relationships together, and when it comes to discussing a prenuptial agreement, fostering trust becomes even more crucial.
Discussing prenuptial agreements can be emotionally charged. It’s important to provide emotional support to your partner and create a supportive environment where both individuals feel heard and understood. Validate each other’s emotions and offer reassurance that the agreement is not a reflection of your love or commitment.
Learning from Others’ Experiences
Seeking advice from couples who have successfully navigated prenup can provide valuable insights and perspectives. Learning from others’ experiences can help you anticipate challenges, understand different approaches, and gather tips for effective communication and compromise.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about differences in opinions over prenups
Q: Are prenuptial agreements only necessary for wealthy individuals?
A: Definitely not! Prenups can help everyone, not just the wealthy. In fact, prenups are especially beneficial to the lesser-earning spouse by making sure they are taken care of in the event of a divorce.
Q: How do I approach the topic of a prenuptial agreement with my partner?
A: Approach the topic of a prenuptial agreement with honesty, empathy, and a focus on open communication. Pick a time that makes sense (not right after a big fight) and make a safe space for honest conversations to allow both partners to express their thoughts, concerns, and expectations.
Q: Is it possible to overcome differences in opinion on prenups?
A: Yes, of course. Not every person in every couple will agree 100% of the time–there are going to be disagreements. With some TLC, communication, and possibly some legal help, you can definitely achieve total alignment on your prenup.
The bottom line is that it IS possible to overcome differences in opinions over prenups. Whether you are disagreeing over getting a prenup in the first place or you can’t agree on what to put into your prenup, there are some tips you can utilize to come to a conclusion. For example, opening up the dialogue in a safe space, seeking out a family law attorney for advice, and focusing on common goals are just a few ways you can start this process of alignment.
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]