You and your partner sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes… a prenup? Thinking about a prenuptial agreement is not exactly what romantic comedies are made of but in the real world they are becoming more common.
A 2013 survey of 1,600 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 63% of the lawyers reported an increase of prenups. So if you find yourself on the other end of a request to sign for one, you’re definitely not alone. However, that may not change how you feel about it! Here is what to do if your beau suggests signing a contract.
Figure Out Why He Wants One
The reason that prenups often seem hurtful is they have been classically associated with being subtly labeled a gold digger (as is the case in Kanye’s Gold Digger lyrics) or that one party doesn’t have full faith that the relationship will last. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be forever? Finding out what your significant other is pursuing this for may help to evaluate how you feel about it.
Laywer Tamara Kagel points out that some marriages are inherently a bit more risky, such as how second marriages are statistically more likely to fail. Your future husband may have children from a previous marriage whom he is intending to protect some of his inheritance for or an established business that they want to protect. Whatever the reason, to move forward with the discussion, you need to know what the root concerns are.
Communicating When Creating A Prenup
A prenup isn’t a conversation to have the week of your wedding. This is a conversation that some experts say is beneficial to have even before you get engaged. First off, if one party can argue the prenup was forced (as in literally as you are about to walk down the aisle), it may not even hold up in a court of law. Secondly, prenups are ultimately a topic in the larger conversation of how the two of you are going to deal with finances in your relationship.
Even though we imagine marriage as just a fairytale, there are a lot of boring and hard conversations to have before you actually get hitched. Having this conversation early is also essential in case the relationship falls apart as a result. You don’t want that to happen either way, but you’d rather it happen before you put down a non-refundable deposit on a venue!
Work On The Prenup Together
If you decide that a prenup may make sense for your relationship, work on it together. Massachusetts attorney Laurie Israel argues that a prenup usually puts the person with less money at a disadvantage, so it is important that you figure out a way for the prenup to have a more even playing field for that person.
If your significant other doesn’t believe you are entitled to earnings during your relationship, you should also make sure you aren’t responsible for any debts accrued, either! Also, whoever is suggesting the prenup should cough up the cash to hire a lawyer to work on this with the two of you. If after negotiations you still don’t want to continue forward, you shouldn’t be straddled with a hefty legal bill for standing by your values.
When A Prenup Is a Deal Breaker
So you hate the contract or you’re just too hurt to consider one at all, what do you do? The answer may be to NOT say, “I do” to one another. Jane Greer, Ph.D., author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, says, “It's a cross of values. If you can't negotiate this, you're not going to be able to negotiate other things in marriage.” Israel also points out that prenups are often unnecessary in first marriages where neither party has significant estates.
She points out that younger newlyweds don’t know what the future brings and that often state law is adequate for most divorces. If your partner still wants to charge forward, it may signal the end of your relationship and be a reminder to have this conversation early with the person you date.
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