Asking your fiancé to sign a prenuptial agreement isn’t exactly a romantic conversation-starter, but it doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. In fact, a prenup can set the stage for a stable marriage by preventing disagreements and misunderstandings down the line.
Read on to find out how CEO Sam broached the subject with his fiancée, Claire.
When You Have Different Approaches To Money
Sam’s divorce from his first wife was a costly one. He worked hard to rebuild his estate and wanted to ensure that his two daughters, 14 and 16, would be financially secure after he was gone. Sam also came from a family of means; both parents inherited money from Sam’s grandparents and kept those assets separate.
To Sam, asking Claire for a prenuptial agreement was simply part of responsible estate planning. Claire, however, didn’t quite see it that way! She came from a long line of artists and educators who valued knowledge and imagination over money.
Claire grew up expecting her own marriage to mimic her parents’ financial mantra: It’s no longer my money or your money, it’s our money, and it goes in one pot. So when Sam handed her a prenup a month after he proposed, Claire felt betrayed and offended. An art therapist, she made substantially less money than Sam. And since she was 15 years Sam’s junior, it was likely he would predecease her.
Obviously he wanted to leave his daughters money, but didn’t he also want to make sure she would be comfortable enough to retire? Claire glanced from the prenup to Sam, staring at him as if he were a stranger. “I don’t understand why you’re doing this,” she said. “Maybe we should hold off on the wedding.”
Sam and Claire Go To Couples Therapy
In their new therapist’s office, Sam and Claire argued about the prenup. Sam wasn’t sure he trusted Claire anymore: was she after money that should rightfully go to his daughters? Claire wondered if their values were incompatible: was money all Sam cared about? Robin, the couple’s therapist, helped them understand that neither was right or wrong; they just came from different backgrounds with divergent philosophies about family assets. Gradually, they began to listen to each other and stopped seeing the other as the opponent. Claire said she would be willing to sign the prenup – with certain conditions.
Sam and Claire Seek Mediation For Their Prenup
Not only did couples therapy help Sam and Claire understand the other’s point-of-view; it also taught them conflict resolution skills that made the mediation process relatively smooth. Claire presented her terms: she wanted to determine a figure that each would put in a joint checking account every month. She requested that Sam give more, since hewas the bigger earner by far.
In addition, she wanted him to make annual contributions to her retirement account, as well as put money in a separate health savings account so that she would be able to pay Sam’s inevitable medical expenses as he got older and stopped working. For his part, Sam wanted an assurance from Claire that she would not contest theprenup after his death; he wanted to avoid posthumous money squabbles that plague many wealthy families. The mediator helped the twosome negotiate dollar amounts for Sam’s financial contributions, and drafted an agreement that included the no-contest clause Sam had requested. The entire mediation process lasted just one afternoon and cost a fraction of what Sam and Claire would have had to pay two attorneys.
The Moral Of The Prenup Story…
Prenups don’t have to engender ill will, or worse, break engagements. Like many couples, Sam and Claire found that resolving their differences not only enabled them to enjoy their wedding, but it also gave them confidence that they could solve inevitable conflicts in the future.
If you are engaged to be married, it is important to know all of your legal options. Our highly experienced attorneys at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC can work with you to safeguard your property and monetary assets through careful premarital planning and give you peace of mind through your marriage. Call us at 888-888-0919, or click the button below.