HOW TO HAVE THE “PRENUP” CONVERSATION
By Anastasia Greer, Legal Intern at JUSTLAW
TO BEGIN. Planning a future together with the one you love can be an equally exciting and equally daunting experience. And making the smart choice to start your marriage with the strong foundation of a prenuptial agreement can only bring you closer with your partner. But, many clients come to us asking just exactly how they ought to approach conversations about prenups with the one they love, and this article is here to help. If you view this as a way to set clear expectations while protecting both you and your clients interests, the peace of mind a prenup brings is more romantic than you initially think.
Our team at JUSTLAW has outlined some tips to facilitate a productive prenup conversation with your spouse below:
- Choose the right time. When it comes to the important discussion about prenups with your partner, timing is everything.
- Let the benefits lead the way for the conversation. We at JUSTLAW recommend that you facilitate a positive conversation with all the benefits a prenuptial agreement can bring to you and your spouse. You can learn more about what prenuptial agreements can offer you and your partner on our blog called the Verdict. This can also help debunk any of the common myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. JUSTLAW has myth-busted some more common misconceptions below:
- Just because you have a prenup in place does not mean that your relationship is unstable nor does it mean you and your partner will ever actually use it. Think of it as marriage insurance, and nothing more.
- “Prenups are expensive.” This is not really true and exactly why JUSTLAW created universally accessible prenups in the first place. Starting at $529, you can get a prenup from our attorneys at JUSTLAW, but going the traditional route with in-person counsel can be a completely different price point and story.
- “Prenups are for the rich.” Again, this is not necessarily true. There are several clauses in prenups that can exist to benefit a “less-wealthy” spouse, and you can read more about them here. Among them are alimony clauses, lump-sum payment clauses, and non-disparagement clauses.
- “Prenups get thrown out in court.” Again, not necessarily. This is why it is so important to hire someone with the legal expertise and knowledge of the laws in your state to bind you and your spouse to your prenuptial agreement. In fact, a Maryland court even recently upheld a $7 million dollar infidelity clause for a couple’s prenuptial agreement that was properly drafted and consented to. Read more about this here.
- Anticipate your partner’s desires and response. If you are the one who will be initiating the conversation about prenuptial agreements with your partner, it is important to think about what your partner might say and how they may respond when you do so. For example, let’s say you are the primary income earner between you and your spouse. They may be interested in maintaining financial support and security down the line, so you could open the conversation by mentioning that prenuptial agreements can include alimony clauses to make sure they are protected. Or, let’s say your parents ’s say your parents are giving you a sizable start-up wedding gift, like a house or
- Make it collaborative. Creating a prenup should not be a unilateral, selfish process. It can be easy for one partner to feel left out and may lead them to believe their input doesn’t matter to you if you don’t involve them as equals in the process. This is why here at JUSTLAW, we involve you both ~ together ~ during the initial intake and consultation process. If there’s something your partner doesn’t feel comfortable discussing on your own, our attorneys with JUSTLAW are here to help negotiate terms. The ultimate goals is to create a fair and equitable prenuptial agreement that is acceptable to you BOTH.
Be open to feedback. It is important to listen to your partner patiently, address their concerns, and take their suggestions into consideration with an open mind. After all, this is a two-way street and it may be a useful exercise to put yourselves in each other’s shoes to better understand where you are both coming from. If and when you both inevitably don’t see eye-to-eye on something, try not to shut your partner down. Remember, this is NOT an argument, but a discussion conducive to a mutually beneficial and relationship-strengthening result. When you hit a road-block, circle back to you and your partner’s areas of agreement, and try to find creative solutions that can benefit both of you.
- Use a third party neutral. Two different kinds of third-party neutrals may be helpful in these scenarios (depending on you and your spouse’s needs): (1) a licensed therapist or (2) a licensed attorney. When it comes to the legalese of prenuptial agreements, a lawyer will be able to tell your spouse the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements under the circumstances – making the job even easier for you. For example, if your spouse wants to be a stay-at-home parent, a lawyer would be able to explain all the ways a prenup would still benefit them, including alimony, any lump-sum clauses, and whether they could still live in your primary residence in the event of a divorce. When it comes to the more emotional side of prenuptial agreements, a therapist can help you and your spouse work through any stigmas or fears of prenuptial planning while making sure your relationship remains as strong as ever. They can help facilitate these tougher questions that you find are hard to ask under the circumstances: Why are they feeling this way? How can you support your partner to soften the feeling?
IN CONCLUSION. Throughout this entire process, it is important to remember that prenuptial agreements are not permanent. They can be changed by you and your spouse whenever, for whatever reason, if you both feel the prenup no longer reflects your desires and needs. While it might not be the most romantic topic to talk about, conversations like these are important to have and will serve both you and the one you love in the long run.
You do not need to be a millionaire to stand to benefit from a prenuptial agreement with the one you love. If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement as a new years resolution, contact our skilled JUSTLAW attorneys at 1-888-587-8187 and schedule a free consultation today!
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