How to Approach the Topic of a Prenuptial Agreement with Your Partner
This is the next post in my series on how to decide if a prenuptial agreement is right for your marriage. My last post discussed why a prenup is often a necessary document when a business is involved. In this post, I will be discussing how to bring up the subject of a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse.
Prenuptial agreements should be part of mutual financial planning
Prenuptial agreements often have a bad rap. People falsely assume that anyone who needs one is either protecting himself from a gold digger or is planning to keep their new spouse from earning spousal support at a later date. More often than many think, however, such is not the case. A prenuptial agreement should be a vehicle that protects both partners in the future.
The first step in discussing a premarital agreement with your partner is to have a larger discussion regarding finances. A couple should sit down, with a financial advisor if needed, and disclose all debts and assets. If the couple has different attitudes on spending then those differences should be discussed. Any concerns one may have should be brought up during that discussion. The engagement period is also a good time to discuss any long-term goals such as as large assets one person hopes to buy or any businesses a person may wish to start. Once both partners have a complete picture of the other’s finances then it is time to discuss any concerns. If one partner has a large amount of debt then a premarital agreement protects both the individual and the couple. One way to reduce anxiety one member may feel, over asking the prenuptial agreement, is to involve a financial advisor to make suggestions such as whether a prenup is needed.
Ensure that both parties’ are comfortable with the terms of the prenup
It is neither healthy nor valid to begin a marriage with one person “pulling something over” on the other. A prenuptial agreement is only valid if both parties have a full understanding of the document they are signing. It is highly encouraged that both persons’ retain separate counsel, so that there is no question as to the validity or fairness of the document. It is important, when discussing the issue, that either member of the couple voice any concerns they have with the agreement. It needs to be explained where those concerns come from. It is also important to remember that in California, prenuptial agreements can not dictate matters such as child support, and cannot outright waive spousal support rights. By taking these two issues off of the table, most spouses feel comfortable discussing matters such as protecting separate property.
If you believe you may need a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage contact a San Diego family law attorney today.