How to Ask for a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple before their marriage that specifies how they will divide assets upon divorce or death.  Sometimes a prenuptial contract may also set forth certain terms of the couple’s life together.  A prenuptial agreement, sometimes called a “prenup” or a “pre-marital agreement,” is usually a good idea, especially when one or both partners have children from a prior marriage.

Unfortunately, your fiancé may feel that you want a prenuptial agreement because you do not really trust her, or because you expect your marriage to end in divorce.  If handled improperly, prenuptial negotiations can drain the romance from a courtship, leaving suspicion and hurt feelings.  Follow a reasoned strategy as you explain why, exactly, you want to negotiate a prenuptial agreement.

Express love and commitment
Explain that you love your fiancé and want to have matters settled between the two of you. You do not ever intend to leave her: you love her and are committed to her.  You want a prenuptial agreement to be sure that nothing comes between the two of you later in your marriage.

It’s for the kids
If you have children from a prior marriage, a prenuptial agreement protects them in the event of your unexpected death, since inheritance laws ordinarily heavily favor the spouse over children. Explain that you love her but that you also love your children and want to take care of them.

Explain that a premarital contract protects both of you
Tell her that you want to be sure that she is protected, no matter what should happen in the future.  A prenuptial agreement can protect both parties from a judge whose rulings might be unfair.

Family insists on it
Many times, family members have been hurt when they didn’t have a prenuptial agreement.  If true, explain that your brother, uncle, or grandmother recommends every family member get a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is good financial planning
Spouses can only enforce a prenup if they disclose all their assets prior to marriage.  Explain that a premarital agreement is your way of putting everything on the table and discussing, in an open and honest fashion, how financial matters will be handled.

It’s not personal, it’s professional
In some professional communities a prenuptial agreement is increasingly a standard part of an engagement.   This is especially true of lawyers, accountants, surgeons, etc. If this is your circumstance, explain to your beloved that you consider a prenuptial agreement an ordinary part of courtship and marriage, just like a ring or a honeymoon.

Demonstrate your love
If one of you is wealthy, then a prenuptial agreement is a great way for the other to prove that he or she is marrying for love, not money.  A prenuptial agreement, once signed, can take money out of the picture and can reassure friends and family that a relationship is based on love and trust.

A prenuptial agreement need not divide couples; the disclosure and candor that form a natural part of prenuptial negotiations can even strengthen some relationships, if handled properly.  Any couple committed enough to marry should also be committed enough to negotiate a prenuptial agreement.


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