You are about to get married, and your future couldn’t be more joyful and exciting. You are genuinely looking forward to spending the rest of your life together. Despite your enthusiasm, however, certain concerns keep creeping into your thoughts. What happens if you should divorce? Not that this would ever happen to you … but it’s happening so often. Several of your friends are already divorced. You wonder about your rights if it should happen to you.
As much as you love your fiancé, you are considering the touchy subject of a prenup. The question is, how do you approach this topic with your beloved during what is the happiest time of your life?
A prenuptial agreement – or prenup – is a legal document that sets down the best way to divide assets in the event of a divorce. With most marriages having two income-producing partners these days, and with both people having a financial investment in the marriage, prenups are becoming more common.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
This should be a discussion that happens soon after the engagement, preferably at a time when you are discussing what both of your expectations for the future are. Having this talk early makes it easier and more relaxed.
Discuss the Content of the Prenup Together
It is not a good idea to hand your fiancé a pre-drafted prenup drawn by your attorney and say, “Let’s talk about this and sign it.” Instead, turn the initial talk into a joint venture. Both of you discuss what is important to you. Then, find a mediator and draw up the prenup together, with both of your needs being addressed. This is actually an excellent way to learn what the other partner expects.
When each of you has a copy of the prenup, hire independent legal representatives. You should not be using the same attorney. Let the respective attorneys review the initial draft. If both of you agree on certain revisions, incorporate them into the document.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
Discussing a prenup can cause some resentments and general bad feelings. You can help keep things calm by being honest about why you think a prenup to a good idea for both of you. Talk about how much you love each other, but that you’ve seen too many divorces, and you are nervous. Be perfectly open and honest and help your partner see your point of view.
Your Partner Has Listened to You – Now You Listen to Your Partner
Your fiancé will have concerns and feelings of his or her own. It is critical that you listen to what he or she says. If there are areas of honest disagreements (who will get the house), find ways to comprise to both of your satisfaction (sell and divide the profits). Really listening and hearing what your partner is saying gets your marriage off to the best possible start.
Consider Future Changes
Your life together will change following the wedding and the signing of the prenup. Keep things flexible enough to account for events that have not yet occurred or possibilities you have not yet considered.
Reasons to Opt for a Prenup
A prenup has nothing to do with the love you feel for each other. It is, first and foremost, a financial document intended to protect both of you. Consider the following:
- Do either or both of you own a business? If yes, your financial situation will likely change.
- Does either of you come into the marriage with considerable debt? Who is responsible for the payment of this debt in the event of a divorce?
- Do you have retirement accounts?
- Will one of you quit his or her job to raise children?
- Is either of you financially responsible for a child or children from a previous relationship?
- What are your state’s particular divorce laws?
- How do you want marital assets divided in the event of infidelity?
If you are already married without a prenup, you can always get a postnup. This is similar to a prenup but signed after the wedding and may include special protections for any children.
When you get married, strive for “happily ever after.” But be prepared for anything by considering signing a prenup.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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