Areas of Practice
PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS MUST BE HANDLED DELICATELY
The prenuptial agreement is a double edged sword both legally and emotionally when it comes to a marriage. On the one hand, this is a contract that both simplifies things legally, and can even spare people a lot of grief emotionally when it comes to handling the division of assets in the event of a divorce. On the other hand, everyone will have a different reaction to the idea of a prenuptial agreement and some people-regardless of gender-are actively hostile to the idea. So what can you do to help ease the tension and bring about a more civil discussion about the use of a prenuptial agreement?
Understand The Concern
One of the biggest hurdles to discussing prenuptial agreements and beginning the process of outlining one is the unspoken accusation that some people believe comes with even bringing the topic up in the first place. For someone that is mostly romantic, and only thinking about a relationship in fairy-tale, best-case-scenario terms, the topic of a prenuptial agreement is often interpreted as an ugly, blunt statement from the other partner that things are probably going to go wrong, and this agreement is advance preparation for a doomed relationship.
In other words, some people interpret wanting a prenuptial agreement as your advance admission that this marriage is not going to work. They feel that by wanting to discuss this, you’ve already made up your mind about how this relationship will turn out. They may take it very personally, either as a criticism of themselves, or a strong indicator of your own feelings about the odds of “success” for the marriage. It’s important to understand the feelings your partner may be experiencing if the reaction to the idea of a prenuptial agreement is negative.
Discuss It Early
For some, this may be far too late, but often one of the best times to discuss the possibility of a prenuptial agreement-and gauge partner receptivity to the idea-is very early on in a relationship, before marriage is even in the cards. Some topics are far less emotionally charged when there’s less intimacy, and discussing prenuptial agreements with someone you’re only just getting to know is a very different experience from someone you’re deeply in love with, but have never broached the topic with.
When you bring prenuptial agreements into discussion very early on in a relationship, you create one of the most important opportunities for yourself; the ability to discuss this regularly. For many people, it is only once marriage has been agreed on that “the talk,” occurs. But if you’ve discussed prenuptial agreements in the past, on more than one occasion, you can sound out a lot of the potential problems before they can grow. You may even convince your future partner to see your view of things so early in the relationship that by the time the talk of marriage arrives, he or she is already on board with the idea of the prenuptial agreement.
Just remember that while a prenuptial agreement is pragmatic legal protection, it is also an emotionally charged concept that can incite strong feelings in future spouses when the topic is raised.