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What If My Future Spouse Disagrees to a Pre-Nup?

Posted On January 10, 2024 In Family Law,Marriage

Courtships and engagements are all about romantic dinners, walks on the beach, and wine and roses, but what happens when one party in the engagement disrupts the enchantment of planning a wedding and a happily ever after by asking for a prenuptial agreement and the other spouse reacts as though you stuck a pin in their floating balloon?

You’ve already popped the question, so how do you pop the second big question before marriage without your fiance calling off the marriage altogether? Bringing up a request for a prenuptial agreement can be a daunting prospect and many hopeful, soon-to-be spouses wonder, “What do I do if my fiance refuses to sign a prenup?”

First Choose Your Timing Carefully

Chances are, you put a lot of thought into your proposal, or into your reaction to a proposal from a loved one. But most people don’t put the same careful consideration into when and how to pop the prenup question. First, whenever possible, don’t wait until close to the wedding day to ask for a prenuptial agreement. Instead, it’s best to ask this question soon after the proposal. If you wait until the flurry of wedding planning, your future spouse may feel like they’ve had the rug pulled out from under them and this may dampen their excitement over the big day and forever taint their memories. When an engagement is still new, it is the best time to ask for a prenuptial agreement so you can frame it as part of the overall decision to marry.

Timing is important, but if your future spouse has the wrong idea about prenuptial agreements and their purpose, it may be that no time is the right time. It’s important to debunk any pre-conceived ideas about prenuptial agreements at the same time that you ask for one.

Explaining Prenuptial Agreements in a More Palatable Way

Prenuptial agreements are often unfairly portrayed in the media and on television and movies. Many people immediately think a request for a  prenuptial agreement means their future spouse doesn’t trust them or believes the marriage is doomed. They may feel as though their intended spouse thinks they are after their assets. When asking a fiance to sign a prenuptial agreement, it helps to point out the following rarely considered points:

  • A prenuptial agreement is typically structured to protect BOTH spouses, not to protect one against the other
  • Prenups are enforceable and unbreakable when well-executed
  • A prenuptial agreement also protects your spouse in the event that you die
  • If you have children from a previous marriage, a prenuptial agreement protects their inheritance, and your spouse’s
  • If you have a business, a prenuptial agreement may be necessary to protect partners and employees in the event of a divorce
  • The prenuptial agreement can also protect your spouse against liability for any debts you owe, such as student loans
  • Having a prenuptial agreement is similar to insurance. You have insurance on a home to protect it from a flood or fire that may never happen, but having insurance in place gives you peace of mind in case of the worst scenario occurs

A great way to explain a prenuptial agreement in the best possible light is to assert that a good prenuptial agreement isn’t just self-protection, it is a gesture that protects your spouse as well. A good prenuptial agreement outlines what your spouse receives in the unlikely event of a divorce settlement. By drafting this agreement when you are on the best of terms it’s likely that you’ll be far more generous and giving than if the decisions are made under the worst of terms. Essentially, while your relationship is at its best, you are giving each other a gift of love that endures even if life intervenes in the relationship.