Most people would agree that having a prenuptial agreement (marriage agreement) is a good idea. Yet most people don’t know how to talk about prenuptial agreements.
The idea of speaking about divorce while you are planning a wedding seems like a bad idea.
I often tell our clients that are planning to get married that a prenup is like a house insurance. You don’t buy house insurance because you think your house will burn down.
You purchase the insurance just in case something happens. Insurance is part of risk management, and a marriage agreement (prenup) is the same thing.
The marriage agreement is one of the most common things that people forget when planning a wedding. Around 50% of married people are getting divorced, so you should have the prenup in place before getting married.
This should be done at least before you get married. If for some reason you couldn’t do this, it’s still possible to do the agreement after being married.
You should not create the agreement within a month of getting married, because of the legal concept of “duress.” Duress is explained further down in this article.
Talk About Prenuptial Agreements
It’s also important to have the agreement properly done, with independent legal advice provided by a lawyer.
If the marriage agreement is not a valid contract and is not witnessed, it might not be considered valid by a family judge. There are many other things that can make a domestic agreement invalid.
If you need to speak to a family lawyer about how to talk about prenuptial agreements, or to get one created, contact us.
Our family lawyers can also help you challenge a marriage agreement if it was not created properly.
How to Talk About Prenuptial Agreements
You can also reach out to us with early questions about family law via the live chat function in the bottom right of the screen.
Talk About It Sooner Than Later
Talk about getting a prenup long before the wedding. It should be discussed even before you propose. See how your partner reacts when you say you want one.
If protecting yourself is important to you, and your spouse doesn’t agree, reconsider proposing. Find someone that values how you feel about finances and risk management.
Talk About Other Subjects as Well
Set aside some time to talk about important topics. Perhaps you can have a talk over a glass of wine or during dinner. Say you are taking this relationship seriously, and you want to spend your life with them.
But there is a list of things to discuss before getting married. Maybe you want to talk about how many children you want.
Maybe you want to discuss where you want to live. There are several important things to discuss before getting married. Don’t make the marriage agreement the only subject.
You need to get used to talking about tough subjects if you have children. What happens when you need to create a will for your children?
Don’t Make the Conversation One-Sided
There might be a few things that are on your partner’s mind as well. They might want to talk about who would get custody of the children if something were to happen.
They might want to talk about if religion will be pushed on the child or not. If yes, which religion?
These are very important topics to discuss before getting married to someone. Having these conversations will reduce the chance of you getting divorced.
Find A Fun Way to Share Divorce Horror Stories
You can watch a documentary or a news clip about divorces that cost hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars.
The fact is that the average divorce that goes to trial costs each spouse around $20,000. Find a way to share these facts with your spouse. No one wants to spend $20,000 on a family lawyer if possible, to avoid it if they can avoid it.
Explain How This Benefits Your Spouse
If you are the higher income earner, explain that you are willing to offer spousal support, child support and perhaps a percentage of the property.
Having this explained upfront, and agreed upon, makes it less risky for your spouse if things don’t work out. Otherwise, your spouse would have to pay a lawyer $350/hour to negotiate with you if you got divorced.
Clarity is always a good thing in family law. Talk about prenuptial agreements today and save potential stress many years from now.
Talk About Prenuptial Agreements
Prenups are tough to talk about for most people. If people can get to the table and start talking to each other honestly, it improves the relationship. Plenty of times during dating these hard conversations come up anyway.
But normally the topics don’t involve money as it doesn’t seem appropriate. And there is nothing less romantic than getting lawyers involved at the same time of planning a wedding.
You don’t want to lose 50% of that inheritance from your parents. What is the lesser of two evils? Having an awkward chat about money, or losing half of something you didn’t want to give up?
Let’s talk about prenuptial agreements. You can contact us.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law