So, you just got engaged and now you're thinking about divorce? Well, not technically, but that's how some might view a prenuptial agreement. It can absolutely be an uncomfortable subject to bring up: "Hey, honey, after cake tasting, let's sit down and discuss how things are gonna go down if we split up." But if you think about it, love doesn't really exist in the court of law. When it comes down to it, it's not about setting your marriage up for failure; it's about protecting your assets in the case that things don't work out. There are, however, better ways than others to go about bringing up a prenup, and divorce attorney Louis M. Atlas weighed in based on his own professional experience.
"You're right, it's like, 'We're not even married and we're already contemplating divorce?' It's a very delicate conversation; it has to be very mature, straightforward, and not contentious," said Louis. In his work, Louis has had couples who changed their minds about getting a prenup because they see it as, "Well, why am I getting married in the first place then?" In other times, both parties are completely on board with the idea, which can also be an issue.
"The problem with being on board about it is that they say, 'Why aren't you giving me X or Y?' It sort of becomes almost a negotiation for a divorce, which essentially it is," Louis said. "Hopefully your relationship is at a point where this discussion can be had outside the fact that you're in love and you want to get married. You can say, 'We don't know what's going to happen down the line, but I think we both want to be taken care of should something happen.'"
"It's just the reality of life."
The conversation has to be as level-headed as possible and, like any contract, you should try to keep it as least emotional as possible. That's much easier said than done, especially when it comes to marriage, but it's not always about distrust or selfishness. There are various ways you can talk about it depending on what assets you'd like protected, like wanting to keep a family estate within blood relatives, for example. It's nothing personal. "It's just the reality of life," Louis said. And similarly, you can't predict the future but you can be prepared for it. Louis suggests having lawyers present but making sure that it doesn't become a long, acrimonious negotiation.
You can also look to the silver lining of a prenup, as well. "Another thing you can say is that this is going to make our marriage stronger," Louis said. "We're not going to be worried about what might happen should we fall apart. We may be even more secure in our marriage is one angle you can take."
Whatever route you choose to take, be sure you're sensitive to the possibility that your future spouse might take it the wrong way. To prevent offending him or her, reassure them that it's not a reflection of your relationship but more of a precautionary measure, and most importantly, that it doesn't take away from how much you love them.