Q: I am thinking about asking my fiancé or fiancee to enter into a prenuptial agreement, how should I raise this sensitive subject without engendering negative feelings?
A: Bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement can be difficult. Some people are uncomfortable talking about finances, and others fear that by asking their fiancee or fiancé for a prenup they will be suggesting they distrust them. There is no doubt that this is a very sensitive subject and must be approached gently and well in advance of your planned wedding.
A good marriage requires open communications and understanding. So I suggest you be forthright, heartfelt and clear about your desire to enter into a prenuptial agreement with your fiancee. Initiating discussion about a prenuptial agreement compels you and your soon-to-be spouse to discuss critical and important issues.
The behavior and reactions of your partner in this process is often extremely revealing. While working through a prenuptial agreement may not be the most “romantic” project, working together to consider and choose the terms of your marital partnership can actually strengthen your relationship. After all, marriage is the ultimate partnership you can forge with someone, and if you were going into business with any partner, wouldn’t you first draw up an agreement that addressed such basic concepts as who was contributing what assets to the venture? And, further, wouldn’t such a partnership agreement also cover how the assets and liabilities of that arrangement would be divided, should the partners decide to call it quits?
Pre-planning with your partner by discussing what should be included in a prenuptial agreement opens up essential conversations about money and with that, conversations about values. Which assets will be separate and which will be owned jointly? How do you and your spouse wish to spend or invest your money? What debts do you each have, and how will they be paid off? These are all vitally important issues to discuss prior to marriage. Resolving these issues is not being fatalistic or signaling a distrust of your fiancé or fiancee. Having taken the precaution of entering into a prenup just in case the marriage ends in divorce, prevents someone being surprised financially if the marriage does not work out.
In most instances prenuptial agreements are not nearly the tough sell that people fear they will be when they first raise the issue with their fiancee. Most high-net worth individuals and professionals, and those dating them, expect that a prenuptial agreement will just be part of the deal.
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