How To Bring Up a Prenuptial Agreement With Your Future Spouse

How To Bring Up a Prenuptial Agreement With Your Future Spouse

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

In this article, we explain how to bring up a premarital agreement with your future spouse.  We answer the questions “what is the best way to bring up a prenup?”, “when is the best time to talk about a prenuptial agreement?”, and “what can I say to help my partner feel better about getting a prenup?”.  We will also discuss additional tips for talking about prenuptial agreements.

What is the Best Way to Bring Up a Prenup?

Prenuptial Agreements are more common than most people think, but talking about them can be a little uncomfortable.  Communicating in an open and honest way will help to smooth things over when you decide to approach the topic with your partner.  Try doing a little research about prenups before you bring it up to your fiance.  The more you know about what you want and why, the easier it will be to discuss.  If you’d like to learn more about prenuptial agreements, see our article entitled Illinois Prenuptial Agreements Explained.

Be mindful of your phrasing.  Instead of approaching your partner by stating you have assets you want to protect (which would likely rub them the wrong way), try telling them that you want to have a conversation about your future together, and that future includes planning for every situation.  

No one gets married with the expectation of getting divorced.  A prenuptial agreement allows you both to decide how you would like to be treated if you are no longer together, be it through divorce or death.

When is the Best Time to Talk About a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you are considering a prenup, you should discuss it with your partner as early as possible.  You may even want to consider having a conversation about prenups while you are still dating, as opposed to after you get engaged.  It is very natural for stress to increase as your wedding day approaches, so it is best to talk about a premarital agreement when you are most likely to have a calm and rational discussion.

What Can I Say to Help My Partner Feel Better About Getting a Prenup?

There are several perks to having a prenuptial agreement that you can highlight when you decide to talk to your partner.  Common issues addressed in prenups are as follows:

  • Whether or not alimony will be paid by one spouse to another after a divorce, and if so, the amount and duration of the payments
  • Ownership and use of property upon divorce
  • How assets and debts will be divided upon divorce
  • Agreements to execute wills and trusts to distribute assets in a particular manner upon death, including the allocation of assets to children of a previous marriage
  • Issues related to the ownership of death benefits from either spouse’s life insurance policies
  • Any other issues for which two people can legally contract

Prenuptial agreements can cover all of these issues, or only one or two of them, if that is what you and your partner agree upon.  The only legal requirement for a valid prenuptial agreement is that the contract be in writing and signed by both parties.  The content of your prenup is entirely up to you.  Reminding your partner that you will be making all of these decisions together can be a helpful tool when initiating the conversation.  

More Tips for Talking About Prenuptial Agreements

  • Stay positive.  If you’re worried about your partner feeling defensive as soon as you say the word “prenup,” it is important to bring up the subject in a calm and safe environment.
  • Hire the right attorney.  You want to hire a representative that understands your values and is willing to walk you through all of the steps to create an agreement that you are both comfortable with.  You also want to be aware of all of your rights and any changes that may occur once you’ve signed your prenup.
  • Remember the benefits of advanced preparation.  One of the biggest pros of having a prenuptial agreement is that you’re making decisions together without resentment or negativity that can significantly impact negotiations after a relationship has taken a turn for the worse.  Depending on the terms of your prenup, a couple may try to work through things or decide to stay together because of the choices they made before marriage.  When you’re making plans for the future, it helps to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
  • Create the contract together.  Drafting a prenuptial agreement and presenting it to your fiance before you’ve decided on terms together could potentially be a major setback.  Both of you are going to have to sign the agreement for it to be valid, so suggesting that you craft it together can help your partner realize that this is something you are doing together, as opposed to something that is being done to them.

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