Talking about a prenuptial agreement and what will happen in the event of a divorce is rarely the type of planning people want to do when they are engaged. They'd typically rather focus on wedding preparations and thinking about a happy union.
However, a prenup can be a vital tool that establishes protections and provisions that make difficult decisions a little easier to make, should the need ever arise. Below are some tips for discussing this subject with your partner.
- Give yourselves plenty of time. No one should enter into these agreements without adequate time and opportunity to review them. In fact, doing so could ultimately invalidate the agreement. In California, parties must have at least seven days to review a prenup. Bring up the topic early enough so you both have time to review, discuss and negotiate the terms.
- Don't confuse preparation with expectation. There is a saying that you should plan for the worst and hope for the best. This can be a good way to think about a prenup. Having a plan in place should the marriage end in divorce is a way to prepare for the worst; it is not an indication that a person expects or hopes the union will end.
- Be open and honest. Discussing a prenup is not the time for modesty or half-truths. This is a legal document, and the information should be accurate and comprehensive. Leaving financial details out or agreeing to something you don't want will not do either of you any favors in the long run.
- Ask for help. Most people have never seen a prenuptial agreement before, let alone negotiated the terms of one. Don't feel like you need to be an expert. You can (and should) review this legal agreement with an experienced attorney before signing it.
It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge the possibility of divorce when you are planning to get married, but discussing a prenup doesn't have to be a painful, dramatic event. With a level-headed approach to the process, a commitment to honesty and the help of an attorney, you can develop a solid plan that (hopefully) you may never need.