A prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, is a premarital contract between an engaged couple. The document outlines their property rights and responsibilities if they divorce.
There can be a negative attitude towards getting a prenup, and many people view the contract as a kind of premeditated divorce strategy. Social stigma is why most people feel hesitant to ask their partner to sign one. But depending on you and your partner’s circumstances, the document can be a massive asset to your marriage.
For example, either party could own premarital assets such as a house or a business. In the event of a divorce, you’d want to make sure they are exempt from the property division laws of your state.
Determining when and how to bring up a prenup can be a difficult task. Your spouse may not appreciate the fact you’re already thinking about a future with a divorce. But the key to asking for a prenup the right way involves explaining that it’s part of planning for a future without any unpleasant surprises.
If you’re wondering how to get your fiancé to sign a prenup, the guide below will show you how to bring up the topic. You can navigate the subject calmly with your spouse and reduce the chances of the discussion turning into an argument.
Bring Up a Prenup as Early as Possible
Don’t wait till the last minute to talk about signing a prenup with your future spouse. You should have the discussion a long time before your wedding date — preferably before you’re engaged.
The sooner you approach this subject with your partner, the better. That gives you both time to work past any negative attitudes your spouse may have about prenups.
They’ll have the opportunity to understand why it’s important for the both of you. Having the discussion early also gives you both adequate time to negotiate the terms properly.
When you’re ready to file the prenup, make sure you do so well ahead of the wedding date. The timing of when a couple creates a prenup may affect its enforceability. Many states are hesitant to enforce prenups if a couple creates them right before a wedding.
The court may believe the agreement was made under duress rather than through a voluntary negotiation. The sooner an agreement is reached and filed, the higher the likelihood the prenup will be enforceable in court.
Highlight the Positives of Prenuptial Agreements
A good prenuptial agreement isn’t one-sided. When you create the agreement, it should aim to protect you and your spouse from potential issues related to your upcoming union. Encourage your partner to get involved in the process. They can make requests that protect their interests, which is a great way to open them up to the idea of a prenup.
When you start talking about drafting the prenup with your partner, you want to highlight how the agreement benefits you both.
With this in mind, you can explain that the agreement ensures that:
Both of you can specify what property you want to keep separate in a divorce
- The property can be anything from a house you owned before the marriage to income generated from a pre-existing business.
Both of you remain responsible for whatever financial debts you have
- You can protect yourself from any significant debts your spouse has. Whether it’s from credit cards or student loans, you won’t have to pay back the amount in full if the spouse with debt passes away.
You protect your inheritance or family assets
- Courts may not always see your inheritance, estate, or heirlooms as separate property. It becomes marital property when you use it to finance some aspect of your married life, such as family bills.
You both steer clear of expensive court battles if you ever decide to divorce
- The prenup would address all issues about dividing property. There’s less to argue over in court, and you end up reducing your legal costs.
Children from a previous relationship can benefit from your assets if you divorce or pass away.
- There have been cases where children from previous relationships were left with fewer assets than intended. This scenario can happen when there are conflicts in the will or the divorce becomes contentious. It’s crucial to specify the ownership of your assets in the prenup to ensure the court follows your wishes.
Remember, this agreement can prevent headaches that could arise for you both down the road. Even if you don’t see a divorce happening, marital conflicts about topics such as money can still occur. A prenuptial agreement is an excellent opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about your future, which can lay down the foundations of a strong and successful marriage.
Create the Prenuptial Agreement Together
You should avoid approaching your spouse with a pre-drafted premarital agreement. Your spouse may interpret it as a lack of trust and respond to it negatively.
Instead, it would be best if you approached your spouse intending to draft the prenuptial agreement together.
This approach creates an environment where you two can discuss the prenup in an open and honest way. You can talk about assets you’d like to protect and any responsibilities or expectations you may have about each other.
Ultimately, you can better plan your future and address any issues unique to your situation this way.
Talk About What You Want To Protect
You might want to protect a business you just started. Your future spouse might want to keep sole ownership of a family home they recently inherited. You might be worried about your partner’s credit card debt. Your partner might be concerned about outstanding taxes you owe. These are a few examples that illustrate why it’s important to talk about specifics with your partner while you work together on a prenuptial agreement.
Here are a few other issues you both may want to discuss:
- Children from previous relationships
- Alimony and spousal support
- Division of specific assets
- Savings and retirement accounts
- Business ownership and involvement
Hiring a Mediator
You might want to consider hiring a mediator to help you and your partner draft the prenup, especially during the early stages. This neutral third party can help make negotiations go smoothly. Mediators are a neutral party. They can consider you and your partner’s concerns equally and create productive discussions instead of arguments.
Sometimes, prenups can be challenged by partners in court. They may claim that they were coerced into signing the contract. Hiring a mediator could be valuable evidence that proves you and your spouse had the opportunity to negotiate terms.
A good mediator can also make sure that your prenuptial agreement is fair to both of you. This increases the chances of the document being accepted in court.
Be Flexible For Your Future Spouse
Your current situation won’t stay the same forever. A good prenup should be capable of handling potential future situations that could occur in your life.
For example, if you’re entering marriage as a business owner, you might want to protect your company in the event of a divorce by listing it as separate property.
But what if your spouse becomes involved in the business and adds value to it? In that case, they may want to change the terms of the prenup. That’ll be tough to do because prenups usually can’t be changed after marriage under state law.
That’s why it’s important to account for all these possibilities now, even if they’re just “what if” considerations.
Hire a Family Law Attorney to Help Put It All Together
You and your partner can draft a prenuptial agreement on your own. But before you both sign the document, you may want a lawyer to review it first.
You should hire separate lawyers to represent each party. Courts prefer it when both spouses are represented by independent legal counsel.
Premarital agreements are subject to strict and sometimes complicated legal requirements that vary by state. A licensed family law attorney in your local area can provide you with the legal advice you need to create an enforceable contract.
A free prenuptial agreement form builder can help you and your partner draft this document together. A prenuptial agreement template can help you get started.