How to Ask for a Prenup
Prenups are no longer limited to the rich and famous, but broaching the topic in any relationship can be a challenge. You might want a prenuptial agreement but worry that asking your partner will kill the romance or, even worse, end the relationship. Prenups offer important legal protections for both parties, and you shouldn’t let the fear of an uncomfortable conversation stop you from protecting your important rights. Below, we offer some tips for how to talk to your partner about a prenup. Reach out to a seasoned New Jersey divorce attorney for help preparing a prenup and for advice on how to approach the matter with your spouse.
Discuss the Purpose of a Prenup
Prenups are not meant to be one-sided documents solely protecting the interests of one party; they are about protecting the interests of both sides. Even if one spouse has significantly more assets, the prenup can ensure that they would be protected and guaranteed income and assets in the event of a divorce. The prenup will save you significant time, money, and emotional energy later on in the unlikely event that things do not work out.
Be open and up-front with your reasons, the interests you wish to protect, and your concerns. It’s OK to say that you are worried about being financially disadvantaged in the event your marriage does not last, or that you have a close friend who was devastated after a divorce and whose attorney told them they should have had a prenup. If you are open and honest, your partner will feel safe doing the same, and the conversation will feel less one-sided.
It’s a Conversation, Not a Demand
Drafting the prenup should be a collaborative process, not a one-sided set of demands. “Let’s talk about a prenup” is a much more palatable way to approach the matter than “we’re getting a prenup and this is what I want.” Like anything else with your partnership, you both get a say. You both have interests to protect, and you should be open to hearing your partner’s wishes and concerns. Don’t be set in your plan before even discussing the matter; make sure to hear and appreciate their thoughts as well. Work together to come up with terms that accommodate both of your needs.
Make sure that you really listen and that you ask questions. Your partner will feel more empowered and less “attacked” when they know that you care about their concerns and that the prenup will help them as well. You’ll still each want your attorney to review the document and ensure that everyone’s interests are protected, but you’ll know that you are approaching the matter as teammates, not opponents.
It’s Going to Be a Heavy Conversation
Even if you go into the conversation with the best of intentions, prenups are an uncomfortable, heavy topic of conversation. You can’t talk about a prenup without also mentioning the possibility of divorce. It will likely create some tension. Do your best to keep the conversation calm, supportive, and rational, but be prepared for some awkwardness. You may need to have the conversation multiple times; if you can’t get through it the first time, set the matter aside, give it some time, and try again later.
Do Not Wait Until the Eve of the Wedding
A prenup should not be something you bring up at the last minute just before the wedding. You should introduce the topic months ahead of time, to give you and your partner time to discuss the matter, understand and appreciate one another’s concerns, and draft a document that protects both of your interests. Bringing up a prenup at the eleventh hour before the ceremony is more likely to ruin the trust and goodwill you share with one another, and might even ruin the engagement. Ideally, you’ll broach the topic even before you get engaged so that your partner will not be surprised when the full conversation eventually arises. Get the prenup out of the way early so that you can enjoy your engagement and your time together without the cloud of uncertainty.
If you need help drafting a prenuptial agreement in New Jersey, or if you are dealing with child support, custody, alimony, or other New Jersey family law issues, call the experienced and effective Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.