How to Talk to Your Partner about a Prenup
Here’s a common scenario: You want to create a prenuptial agreement before you marry your romantic partner, but you’re not sure how to talk to your partner about a prenup. Maybe you’re worried they’ll get upset, or misinterpret your desire as a lack of faith in your future marriage’s success. While starting a conversation about prenuptial agreements can seem intimidating, the right approach can help your discussion go as smoothly as possible. Here are five tips on how to talk to your partner about a prenup.
Tip #1: Start the discussion early.
If you’ve read our previous blog posts about prenuptial agreements, you’ll know there are legal reasons to start the prenup process well before the wedding date. In order for a California premarital agreement to be enforceable, your financé(e) will need to have at least 7 days between first receiving the premarital agreement and signing it.
Besides the legal advantages, bringing up the idea of a prenup early on in your relationship carries other advantages too. Wedding planning is stressful and emotional enough without adding in postponed financial negotiations and the additional expense of hiring separate attorneys. Suddenly springing the idea of a prenup on a future spouse after the wedding invitations have already gone out isn’t really fair to them. We’ve seen weddings postponed and relationships ended when a prenuptial discussion was postponed for too long.
Ideally, start discussing the idea of a prenup while you’re still dating. Long before you plan to propose, explain why creating a prenuptial agreement is important to you.
Tip #2: Be honest and empathetic.
Honesty is the best policy, both in personal relationships and finance- and a prenup involves both! Be tactful but honest about your underlying motivation for wanting a prenuptial agreement. Maybe you were “burned” before in a past relationship. Perhaps you crave a sense of financial security after growing up in a financially insecure household. These types of insights can help your partner understand where you’re coming from.
Also try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes as you consider the best way to present the topic. If there is a significant gap between your financial positions, they may initially react with confusion or fear if you bring the topic up abruptly or in a heated moment. Instead, try starting the conversation by first expressing affection and a desire to collaborate on a future together. Starting on a positive note can establish trust and prevent feelings of insecurity from arising when the concept of a prenup is raised.
Tip #3: Present the prenup as a win/win.
Express your desire to collaborate on a prenup that is advantageous to both parties. Often the partner who initially requests a prenup tends to be in a better financial position, but a prenup isn’t only about protecting that partner’s interests. A prenup offers clarity and outlines many aspects of the couple’s financial future, from spousal support to dividing debts to avoiding future litigation.
A prenup can provide a sense of future financial security for the partner who owns fewer assets too. It can be comforting to know they won’t be left without any resources if the relationship ends. A well-drafted prenup benefits both parties by offering the security of knowing what to expect in the future.
Tip #4: Think of a prenup as a way to plan your future financial life.
As you and your partner discuss the various topics to discuss before creating a premarital agreement, you’ll cover a wide range of key decisions affecting your shared future financial life. Many couples find it challenging to bring up the potentially sensitive topic of money with a partner. Others get caught up in a whirlwind romance and neglect to discuss pragmatic details like finances.
Creating a prenuptial agreement helps you overcome these obstacles and guides you through critical financial conversations that every couple should discuss before tying the knot.
Tip #5: Work with an experienced guide.
Both partners should hire separate, trusted attorneys when creating a prenuptial agreement. An experienced prenuptial attorney can guide you through all the relevant questions and ensure the final legal document is fair and thorough. They can also make sure appropriate language is used so your prenup will be enforceable if it ever ends up in court.
If you have any questions about prenuptial agreements, feel free to contact our office.
Law Offices of Daniel A. Hunt
The Law Offices of Daniel A. Hunt is a California law firm specializing in Estate Planning; Trust Administration & Litigation; Probate; and Conservatorships. We've helped over 10,000 clients find peace of mind. We serve clients throughout the greater Sacramento region and the state of California.