It’s Valentine’s Day and you have just gotten engaged—congratulations! Now it’s time to think about a potentially awkward topic: a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can take anywhere from three months to a year to complete. That’s why it is crucial to begin this financial and emotional dialogue with your fiancé early on. It only becomes more challenging and stressful as the wedding day approaches.
In the early stages of engagement, you and your fiancé are likely aligned in your vision for the future. This is the perfect moment to explore what marriage and your economic partnership will mean to each of you based on your values, goals, and financial perspectives. Initiating the prenup process now demonstrates respect for your future relationship. Plus, having it taken care of ahead of time allows you to focus your energy on planning your wedding!
While the conversation may seem uncomfortable, embracing this discomfort for the sake of your relationship can be a very romantic gesture. Stassi Schroeder from Vanderpump Rules suggests there is a certain romanticism around discussing the topic of a prenuptial agreement with your partner, stating that “people look at that as like a dirty thing that we shouldn’t talk about, but... there is some romanticism to it and being able to be so close to someone that you’re willing to have those uncomfortable conversations.”
If you don’t need any more convincing that it's time to start thinking about a prenup, here are some initial steps to begin the process:
- Define Your Objectives: Make a list of reasons why a prenuptial agreement is important to you. Clarify what you hope to achieve and avoid and your overall goals.
- Approach with Love: Start the conversation with love. Express your desire for financial security without worrying about what will happen if the marriage ends. Frame it as a way to focus on love, family, and the life you plan to create together.
- Timely Communication: Broach the subject with your fiancé at least six months before the wedding, including why you think a prenuptial agreement is important. This allows for a thoughtful and considerate discussion.
- Choose the Right Setting: Have a focused, face-to-face conversation with your partner, avoiding text or email. Timing matters; avoid bringing it up during arguments or stressful situations.
- Consider Professional Guidance: Use a neutral mediator or collaborative lawyers to facilitate a transparent and open conversation which will prevent the discussion from turning into a battle.
If you choose not to start early, here's what you might expect:
- Time Constraints: As the wedding approaches, busy schedules can hinder a calm and productive conversation about sensitive topics.
- Surprise Element: Springing the prenup topic late may catch your fiancé off guard, leading to potential anger and upset.
- Pressure-Induced Decisions: Under time pressure, you might make hasty decisions, potentially giving up too much or not asking for what you truly need.
A final thought on prenuptial agreements: Each state has different requirements, so avoid relying on generic forms or general practitioners who use them. By doing this, you risk having a prenuptial agreement that is not enforceable in court. You should consult with dedicated family law attorneys who understand the implications of the law in the state in which you are marrying.
Tip: If you're already married and regret not having a prenup, consider a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement offers similar protections as a prenup, but it is negotiated and executed after the wedding has taken place.
Contact Vacca Family Law Group
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you or someone you know got engaged on Valentine’s Day, and I’m here to tell you that you need a prenup! Don’t wait until the last minute, and certainly don’t put it off entirely. As experienced collaborative attorneys and mediators, we have seen the challenges people face when they do not have an enforceable prenuptial agreement. Don’t make the same mistake.
For questions about having your prenuptial agreement drafted or reviewed, contact us. Our attorneys are available to offer tailored advice to help you make informed decisions about your financial future. Call us at 212-768-1115 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Vacca Family Law Group is located at One Grand Central Place, 60 E. 42nd St. Suite 764, New York, NY 10165.
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