So, you’ve decided to tie the knot and get married. Congratulations!
You’ve reviewed your financial situation and the probabilities on marriages lasting and you’ve concluded that a prenuptial agreement might be a good idea. You then review your rights and options with an experienced law. All well and good so far.
You now have to ask your fiancé, the person you’ve pledged to spend the rest of your life with because you love her/him with all your heart. Uh oh; what’s your new spouse going to say? Will she calmly consider the options and her rights, or will she literally throw the book at you? Will he understand, or might he consider calling off the engagement because you’re already considering the possibility the marriage might not last?
Make the request as soon as possible
You don’t want to broach the subject with the fiancé the night before the wedding unless you want to be wearing the wedding cake. Raising the issue of prenup becomes harder the closer you get to the wedding date. Some lawyers even suggest raising the topic while you’re dating just to get a feel for the other person’s reaction.
It might also invalidate the agreement if you ask for it the night before, because the person who signs can argue later that they were doing so under duress. So really, it’s a matter of practicality. You should bring it up as soon as you can, but if you chicken out, make sure you ask a week or two before you get hitched. It’ll protect you later.
Understand it’s going to be a strange conversation
Most lawyers say that honesty is the best approach. If you have good reasons for the prenuptial including reasons why it might be good for the fiancé too, then after the initial awkwardness, you should hopefully be able to settle into a good discussion.
Explain the benefits
You should explain that a prenuptial agreement:
- Can make for a much cleaner less stressful divorce if “either” spouse wants the divorce
- Can make for a less stressful divorce is better if there are children
- Can provide financial benefits to both spouses. This takes some work but you should explain that a prenup can provide security and certainty to the spouse who is less well off financially
Discuss co-creating the agreement. Instead of handing your future spouse a written prenup and asking her/him to sign it, you might suggest using a neutral mediator to help craft the prenuptial agreement. This way the future spouse feels she/he is being treating fairly.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville divorce lawyers are experienced at all aspects of family law including prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and divorce. We explain the legal issues and the practical issues involved with understanding your rights, making informed choices, and working to ensure your financial and emotional goals are met. To discuss a prenup or any divorce issues, call us at (865) 637-6258 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.