No matter how happy you are with your partner, marriage is a difficult thing. Although you love your fiancé more than anything, the future is unpredictable, so be on the safe side and get a prenuptial agreement. A prenup does more than just sort out your financial plans if things go differently than planned, it also creates an honest dialogue about your future together. Prenuptial agreements are a smart future-planning tool and while they can seem intimidating, if approached correctly, the process is not so bad.
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Understand What a Prenup Is.
Okay, so the first step, of course, is to understand exactly what a prenuptial agreement is. A prenup is a legal agreement made by a marrying couple in which they determine terms to abide by in case of a divorce, including financial obligations. A basic agreement may list assets that in the event of a divorce will remain with the original owner. Some of the specific details that are discussed in regards to prenups include assets and property owned or acquired before the marriage, property that may be bought or acquired during the marriage, and financial obligations if relevant (for example, financial support by one spouse if the other is to give up a career to stay at home with a child/children). While this may seem like a lot to take on, each subject is tackled individually and in a manageable way.
Talk About It.
While it may seem uncomfortable at first, a prenuptial agreement is an important thing to talk about with your spouse. Every couple has problems in their marriage and open communication is a key tool to working through them, so your prenup should be no different. While it’s true that in the midst of your wedding planning a prenup may not be the most romantic thing to talk about it, it could end up being a mistake to avoid it. Even if it you are both very confident in your relationship, protecting yourselves financially is simply strategic planning. Like with any other conversation about your future, money should be something you and your partner can and do talk about.
Do it Early.
You don’t want to find out on the evening before your wedding day that your partner has been wanting to bring up a prenup also. If possible, start this conversation as early as 7-8 months before your wedding date. The best option is to have your prenup completed and signed up to 6 months before your big day.
You might not love the idea of talking about the prenup, but that doesn’t mean you should blow it off or get it over with without much thought. Your interest in a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you are showing doubt in your relationship but rather that you are making strategic planning moves. Don’t simply agree to whatever terms are created by your partner, your parents or your partner’s parents in order to end the conversation. Come up with terms that you and your partner are both comfortable with so that no problems come up later due to discomfort with the agreed upon terms.
Get Different Lawyers.
So we’ve agreed that both parties should feel good about the agreed upon terms; that may be difficult to accomplish if you have the same lawyer. Hiring separate lawyers when creating the prenup will assure the likelihood that you reach a fair and reasonable agreement.
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Let Your Emotions Get in the Way.
If you find that you or your partner are getting worked up when talking about the prenup, rather than getting angry or rushing the process, take a few weeks to think about it and regroup. You want to think clearly about what is best for both of you. Like any other decision you make about your future—especially financial future—try to put your emotions aside and plan rationally. It’s okay for the process to take several weeks if necessary.
Worry About Your Prenup Once It’s Signed.
The hard part of the prenup is sorting out the details. Once you’ve sat down and openly communicated with your partner, created the agreement and signed it, put it in a drawer and move on. There is no need to over-think the contract once it is done. Put it behind you—you are now free to continue on with your enjoyment and wedding planning. If it helps, think of the prenup as a business contract within your marriage.
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While it can seem like a sensitive subject, the discussion about the prenuptial agreement with your fiancé is an important one. It requires honesty, openness and rational thinking but once you’ve created the agreement, come to fair terms and signed it, you and your partner can put it aside and know that you both made reasonable financial decisions to assure your future stability.