How To Ask For A Prenup Without Breaking Up
You love your fiancée. You trust your fiancée. And vice versa. Your fiancée loves and trusts you.
Given all these great vibes, a happy woman might think twice about asking her fiancée to discuss, write down and sign a prenuptial agreement. There may be a chance of hurting his feelings! No one wants their request for a prenup to be misconstrued as a sign of distrust. The big question is: how does one ask their fiancée for a prenup without damaging the relationship?
The planning phase of a marriage is a time of foundation-laying for a healthy, happy, legally-binding relationship. A big part of this foundation is money-related. Soon two individuals – and the management of their property and finances – will reside within one marriage.
Asking outright for a prenuptial agreement can easily spoil your engagement; for some partners, the request indicates distrust; for others, it signals a discussion of the potential demise of your partnership before it even begins. Approaching this tricky topic doesn’t have to be deal-breaking. It all depends how you broach the subject to your fiancée.
Here are 5 tips on how to ask for a prenup without messing up your relationship.
- Start the conversation as early as possible before the wedding.
Hashing out the details of a prenup can take several weeks or even several months, so do not put it off until the very last minute. The earlier you start the discussion, the more time you both have to calmly and rationally discuss your wishes and amicably reach an agreement on terms.
Aim to finalise the prenup terms before sending out the wedding invitations.
- Approach the discussion from the perspective of practicality.
According to Singapore Legal Advice, a prenuptial agreement can be viewed as a practical solution to determine with certainty your respective legal rights regarding property, maintenance, and custody matters in case of a divorce.
Many Singaporeans fear that discussing these matters or even bringing up the words “prenuptial agreement” or “divorce” will lead to turmoil in the partnership. However, interestingly, discussion about a prenup may actually improve a relationship. Money matters is one of the biggest irreconcilable differences that can cause conflict and eventually even lead to divorce. As such, it is important to know where you and your partner stand when it comes to your finances.
Explain to your fiancée that talking ahead of time about marital asset management, properties, liabilities and debts can avoid disagreements later on down the line. Drafting a prenup is a good way to clarify mutual obligations before the wedding.
Work out prior to the wedding how your finances will be handled once you are married. This can help you better understand your financial behaviours. In turn, you will be better able to make financial decisions as a couple. Ask yourselves some straightforward questions: Will you be having joint or individual bank accounts? How will your expenses be divided?
By drafting a prenup, you and your fiancée will have formulated a consensus from the very start of your marriage. Chances are less that these issues would pop up and cause quarrels later on. In fact, once your financial matters have been outlined, it may be easier for both of you to focus on your relationship!
- Be upfront about your wishes.
Aside from clarifying practical, legal and financial issues, a prenuptial agreement discussion will prompt healthy and honest communication between the two of you. Be completely upfront and open to him about your thoughts. When you propose a term, help him understand why it is so important to you. The more your partner understands your reasons, the better the discussion will go.
Explain the reasons for your suggestions. Mention any personal beliefs, practical points, family history and experiences that have shaped your perspective. As the discussion unfolds, stick to a high level of transparency.
- Listen carefully to the concerns of your partner.
When your partner suggests a term, listen to his reasons with an open mind. Let your partner finish what he is saying before reacting and responding.
When disagreements come up (and they will), be creative about finding solutions that might be improvements for both of you. Look at the disagreements as an opportunity to learn more about each other and to learn the fine art of compromise.
- No matter what happens, try to stay calm.
Approach every discussion and disagreement in a loving and non-threatening manner. Conversations about sensitive matters such as prenuptial agreements or possible separation work best if both partners remain calm and rational. If disagreement starts to get out of hand, it may be useful to remember that you are not trying to win an argument, but rather to develop a relationship.
She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen).
Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).