By: Amanda Vann, Esq.
I talk with a lot of clients and potential clients about the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement. Over and over again, I find the same thing happening: people are pleased to know how a prenup can protect them and their future spouse but clam up when it comes to actually bringing up the topic with their fiancé. I often find myself slightly confused as to why it would be so difficult to talk with your future spouse about a prenup. If you are committing to this person to share your life together, to share your finances, and to have a family together, then you absolutely need to be able to have a candid conversation about each of you protecting any assets you have prior to the marriage.
I understand that the connotations with a prenup make it more difficult to bring up, but if you can’t have a candid conversation with your future spouse about any concerns you have, then why are you getting married to begin with? A successful marriage takes a lot of work. I have represented more people than I’d like to who are going through really nasty divorces because of finances. In my opinion, money and finances are some of the biggest causes of arguments in a marriage. There will be times in your marriage that things aren’t easy, finances are tight, and you aren’t in marital bliss, and I think it is easy for people to ignore the problem and try to find a way around the awkward and difficult conversations rather than actually talking about your real true concerns and issues and working through them together before you are married.
How to Address the Idea of a Prenuptial Agreement
I highly recommend that you have a candid conversation with your fiancé before getting married on a variety of topics including, but not limited to:
1. Incomes – how much do each of you make?
2. Debts – how much and what types of debts are each of you coming into the marriage with?
3. Assets – do you come into the marriage with any assets (retirement, investment, trusts, or inheritances).
4. Children – Please, talk to your fiancé about having kids. Do you want to or not? If you plan to have children, when? Talk about what is important to you and what you have conceptualized as the type of parent you want to be. Aside from money, children definitely put major financial and emotional stresses on a marriage, so have a conversation about what type of family the two of you imagine having and when.
5. Finances – How do the two of you plan to pay your monthly expenses? Will you each have separate checking/savings accounts? Will you have a joint account? How much will each of you contribute to the bills you have, and who will be responsible for handling what bills? All of these questions are extremely important questions to ask and work together to obtain answers before you are married.
I understand these aren’t the “love” type of conversations you thought you’d be having, but these are the real conversations you need to have. Having these conversations now and deciding together how you will handle your finances can make or break a marriage. Many of my clients are truly surprised at how easy it was to have a candid conversation and learn from their fiancé on how they planned to handle finances. They then actually come to an agreement ahead of time that addresses the issues that will quickly arise in your marriage if you wait to have these conversations.
The Value of a Prenup
People hear the word prenup and associate it with a negative feeling, such as setting the marriage up for failure. But I always remind people that having a prenup can actually set your marriage up for success. Not only will you and your fiancé learn how to handle these difficult topics of discussion, but you will also have a clear and contractual understanding about what the future holds. So, when you aren’t in marital bliss and things are tough, some of the general comments and threats are taken off the table in the heat of the argument and instead, you are left with actually addressing the real issues between you.
If you’d like to further discuss prenuptial agreements with a lawyer in Maryland, contact us online today.
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