After a successful engagement, there are a number of plans to make. Although nobody likes to talk about it, a prenuptial agreement should be part of those plans. But let’s face it—this is an awkward conversation no matter what.
We’ve discussed prenups before, including the business aspects as well as the advantages of having a prenup. But it doesn’t make it easier to initiate the conversation. So how do you bring up the contract without being demanding or offensive?
The Elephant In The Room
Having financial discussions are some of the most difficult conversations to have. A prenup can be even more difficult, especially if you’re not sure how start that conversation. But if you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with this individual, you should be able to discuss anything.
Before you start, here are a few things to consider.
- Start the discussion early, before you’re heavily into wedding plans. Don’t wait until a month or two before the wedding, or it may not even be valid in Texas.
- Understand that this will be a heavy and difficult conversation, and may cause a bit of tension.
- Let them know that you have something important to discuss, and find a time where both of you can give it the time and attention it needs.
- Have the conversation during a calm moment, such as over coffee, not in the middle of something else.
- Start with the truth, open and honest. (And do a little research on prenups in Texas so that you understand everything beforehand.)
- Don’t push the issue with comments like “no prenup, no wedding.” Ensure that it’s an equitable conversation for the benefit of both of you.
- Emphasize that a prenup will make things easier if you find yourselves facing a divorce later. This puts more control over the process in your hands, makes it faster and easier, less expensive (with less litigation) as well as less emotionally draining.
- Discussing divorce in advance helps both of you decide how you will dissolve the marital relationship and divide everything. That’s why it’s important for both parties to have equal input so that it suits both, and lets both be heard.
- Ensure your partner that you will listen to his or her concerns and be fair and reasonable throughout the process. Then make sure that you listen to everything.
What To Add
Finances, children, and anything else that’s important to both of you, before, during and possibly after the marriage. You’ll decide on these things both between yourselves and with your attorneys.
A few other things to consider adding into your prenup:
- Valuable, genuine personal jewelry, such as an engagement ring, as separate property
- Post-divorce care of pets. If you and your spouse have pets during the marriage, who gets them, cares for them and pays for their upkeep?
- Expectations, such as chore division. If nothing else make sure to add it into the discussion phase of the prenup process.
Most people think a prenup is all about divorce. Worse, many people think that it’s setting up a couple for a divorce. But as we mentioned previously, having these discussions early on can prevent a divorce later when you agree at the outset of important points of the upcoming marriage.
Think of it this way: rather than thinking of the prenup as if it were what it might be like to get divorced, consider the process as more for “divorce prevention.” Because you’re also discussing plans for the future, fleshing everything out now will help you both get on the same page. If you’re able to coordinate these things ahead of time, it can mitigate a wide range of conflicts later, eliminating the possibility of a divorce.
A Prenuptial Agreement In Texas Is Not Just About Divorce
Another aspect that many people don’t consider is how they or their spouse will be treated if the marriage ends the other way—“’til death do us part.” While having a will and an estate plan is important, addressing the eventual end of the marriage with the passing of one partner should also be part of the prenup.
Consider what would be important for both you and your partner in this situation, and how they would like to be treated, in both the will/estate plan and the prenup.
Make A Difficult Conversation A Little Easier
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced family law attorney with experience assisting people throughout Tarrant County who need help in marriage and family legal matters. From a prenuptial agreement to wills and estate planning, Wendy can help with a wide range of family law issues you may be facing.