5 tips to start Prenup discussion with your Partner
While no one wants to think of separation when they are in a loving relationship, the reality is that many marriages and relationships end in separation or divorce. It is important to take into consideration and plan for what would happen if the worst came to eventuate.
How? By a Prenuptial Agreement (“prenup”), otherwise known as a Financial Agreement. This is a legal document which outlines how you and your partner agree for assets to be handled during the relationship and in the event of a separation. Prenups are becoming more and more common and can be an invaluable tool in the future to protect both you and your partner.
Below are some tips and strategies on how to approach the difficult topic with your partner and to help a potentially awkward and problematic conversation go as smoothly as possible.
1.Timing of the conversation:
Like any important conversation, the timing of when you introduce and discuss the topic can be critical. Find the right time when you are both relaxed, comfortable, in a positive mind frame and have some private time together to discuss the future. Do not bring up the conversation if either of you is tired, stressed or there is tension between you already, as this may lead to fighting or further tension.
It is also important that the conversation is brought up and the document itself signed well before wedding dates/ commitment ceremonies or any other related events including sending out wedding invitations. This is because agreements can be set aside if one party proves they were pressured, coerced, or forced to enter into a prenup.
When you find the right time, remember that you are introducing the topic as a conversation and NOT a demand. You are not forcing them to do anything, nor are you dictating all the terms of the prenup to them.
2. Work the topic into a broader conversation:
It can be helpful to bring up the conversation of a prenup within the context of a broader discussion about your finances, estate planning and your future plans as a couple.
You can also bring up the conversation in the context of expressing your intention to commit and have a long loving relationship with them. If that wasn’t your intention then there would be no need for the document. It is merely a safeguard like estate planning, your Will and life insurance. You do not plan on these things happening or having to se
e the documents again after they have been signed, but it’s still important to have those documents in place if the worst happens.
3. Be clear and straightforward – explain why you want a prenup
You are going to have to be prepared and ready to explain your understanding of what a prenup is, why you want one and what you are trying to achieve by having one in place.
For example, you may have had a previous separation and gone through an ugly property settlement, you
may want to have peace of mind as to what will happen in the future, or want to protect family inheritance and assets that have been in the family for generations or it may just be a part of your estate plan and on advice from your financial advisors/ lawyer.
Highlight to your partner that if you did ever separate, this document could potentially save you both significant stress, money and time in the future. It also allows you to make decisions as a couple rather than fighting about it through the court system and having a third party (the court) decide what happens to each of your assets and who keeps what.
4. Listen to your partner and reassure them
Naturally, your partner may have a negative reaction. Many people do not know what the document is and base their understanding of American movies, which show prenups as unromantic, mistrusting, cold and/or controlling, which is not necessarily the case. Allow your partner to have their natural reactions, time to process and empathise with their reaction and views. If you expect them to understand your viewpoint, you, in turn, need to understand and empathise with their viewpoint.
Allow time to explore your partner’s feelings and thoughts about the topic. They are likely to ask a lot of questions, so be forthcoming with answers and, as stated above, be clear and straight forward with them.
Ask your partner what their understanding of a prenup is. They may not know that both people can benefit from such a document. It can provide security and certainty with respect to future financial support. They may not understand that the agreement can benefit them also. Outline those benefits to them and encourage them to do their own research on prenups or talk to a lawyer about what it is.
5. Be collaborative
The conversation will be much easier if you work collaboratively together to navigate any differences you have about the prenup. Reassure them that the document is not one-sided, it exists to reflect both of your concerns. It is a consensual agreement that can be negotiated between you both. Ask them what terms would be important for them to be included in the agreement and be open to their suggestions to accommodate both of your needs.
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