The number of couples signing prenuptial agreements has risen significantly during the last few decades, but bringing up this topic can be awkward. How can you bring up this sensitive topic without offending your future spouse?
Here are some tips for starting the conversation about a prenup.
Choose the Right Time
First, it is important to choose a suitable time for this conversation. Do not attempt to bring it up during a time of heavy emotions, such as when your future spouse is already upset about something or arguing with you. Instead, choose a moment when they are in a good mood, and the conversation will likely turn out much better.
Expect It to Be Challenging
Be prepared for the conversation to be tense and charged with emotion, particularly if you own substantial assets and your future spouse does not. Try to remain calm and even-tempered and focus on your shared future instead of your assets as much as possible.
Present It as a Conversation, Not a Demand
Even if you are certain you will only get married if there is a prenup, do not bring it up by telling your future spouse that you must get one. Instead, open the conversation with phrasing such as “Let’s talk about getting a prenup.” This will help them feel like you are on even ground and may make them more receptive to the idea.
Tell Your Partner About the Benefits of a Prenup
It is never a good idea to pressure someone into signing a prenuptial agreement, and in certain circumstances, it may even be invalidated in the future if you do so. Moreover, even mild pressure can put your future spouse on the defensive and may make them wonder about your intentions.
Therefore, a far better approach is explaining why you want a prenuptial agreement and how it benefits both of you. Some people liken it to purchasing a life insurance policy—no one wants to pass away, but it is wise to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
With a prenup, both you and your partner will clearly understand how assets and liabilities will be divided in the event of a divorce. Otherwise, the division of property can be a highly contentious issue that can make proceedings very difficult and expensive for both parties.
Try to Make the Process Collaborative
Even if you have significantly more assets than your future spouse, it is best to avoid dictating the terms of the prenup or making decisions on your own. This may make them feel that their opinion is unimportant to you and that they have no control over the situation.
Treat your future spouse like an equal and approach the prenuptial agreement as a collaborative process. Encourage them to hire a lawyer to negotiate on their behalf to ensure that the agreement is fair and equitable to both parties.
This can often pave the way for other important conversations about finances that all couples should have before they get married. Discuss your concerns about your financial future together and the importance of maintaining each spouse’s financial independence. Financial issues can drive a wedge in a marriage, so ensuring you are on the same page from the start is ideal.
Listen to Suggestions
When your partner expresses their opinion about any aspect of the prenuptial agreement, listen attentively and consider their suggestions. Putting yourself in their shoes and considering where they are coming from may be helpful. It is not unusual to encounter disagreements in these conversations, but try to reframe them as a discussion rather than an argument that can be used to help you find an acceptable solution.
Be sure to let your partner finish talking and then ask if they have anything else to add before you give a response.
Reschedule the Conversation if It Becomes Contentious
Despite your best efforts, this discussion may end up devolving into a fight. If that happens, it is best to take a break from the conversation and agree to return to it after you have both had time to reflect on what everyone said.
Ask your partner if they can set aside some time in the next few days to discuss the matter further. Letting them choose when to continue the discussion will help them feel more in control of the situation. In addition, taking a break will give them time to explore their feelings in greater depth and research the matter to discover why prenups can be so valuable for everyone involved.
Reach Out to the Experienced Maryland Family Law Attorneys
If you need help drafting a prenuptial agreement or want to learn more about how it can protect your assets, contact the experienced family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW today. Our team can help you ensure your interests will be protected if your marriage ends.