Getting married is a big deal. Nobody expects their marriage to end in divorce, but it happens. Due to the complex nature of divorce, many couples choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement. This type of legal agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of each partner during a divorce, and also creates expectations during the marriage.
It’s understandable if your partner has an aversion to signing a prenuptial agreement. Signing a legal contract that outlines how your assets, expenses, and debts will be handled if the relationship falls apart is rough. It reminds you of the possibility that your relationship won’t last. Nobody wants to think about that, but divorce is a reality that affects just under 40% of all marriages.
Maintain your stance on creating a prenuptial
If you’re going to convince your partner to create a prenuptial agreement with you, you’ll need to consistently stand your ground. Don’t make the mistake of entertaining their arguments against it. On the other hand, don’t outright invalidate them, either. Acknowledge their concerns and stay focused on the main point: nobody knows what will happen in the future, and both of you deserve to be protected.
Your partner might tell you there’s no need for the agreement since neither of you have any assets, and any assets you create during the marriage will be jointly owned anyway. That’s not entirely accurate. Law expert Charles R. Ullman says prenuptial agreements serve another purpose: to prevent the kind of strife that causes divorce in the first place. For example, a prenuptial agreement can be written to fit both partners’ wishes for estate planning – something that often causes arguments and irreconcilable issues in marriages.
Talk to your partner openly and honestly
A prenuptial agreement is the ultimate transparency in a relationship where finances are concerned. Although your relationship may have been founded on honesty, there are always things people hide. Be transparent with your partner about why you want the agreement. If you don’t like the idea of giving up certain personal assets, tell them. You’ve worked hard to create those assets and your partner should respect that.
It’s possible your partner doesn’t want to create an agreement because they have lingering debt and don’t want you to know. They might be trying to hide it, or they might be embarrassed. Have a conversation about finances with your partner to find out if that’s why they’re opposed to the agreement. Once it’s out in the open, if you can calm their fears, they may change their mind.
Let your partner know you want to protect them, too
Tell your partner that a prenuptial agreement is important to you for their wellbeing. Let them know you want to make sure they’re protected as well. The agreement is for both of you.
If that doesn’t work, point out that a marriage itself is a legal agreement, too, and try to get them to look at it from that perspective.
If you need more ideas, read this article from The Plunge that details weak arguments versus strong arguments to make when asking for a prenuptial agreement.
Break down what a prenuptial agreement can protect
Your partner might be under the impression that a prenuptial agreement is only about protecting assets and debts. If either of you have children from prior relationships, the prenuptial agreement will protect the kids. It will also keep family heirlooms and other family property in the birth family.
You could add some humor and let them know the agreement can also specify who’s responsible for preparing tax returns. If your spouse hates preparing taxes, tell them you’ll volunteer to prepare the taxes for the duration of your marriage. That’s a hard deal to turn down!
Your last resort
When all else fails, tell your partner that a prenuptial agreement can prevent them from being chained to your debt if you die and vice versa. They won’t like to think about that, either, but the guilt might sway them to your side.
Be cautious of agreeing to disagree
Agreeing to disagree won’t benefit you in this situation. If you can’t get your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement, and you know it’s necessary, find a counselor to help. There’s a time and a place for compromise, but if your partner won’t budge, schedule a meeting with a lawyer to help. If you back down and get married without signing an agreement, you’re taking a huge risk.