Want a prenup but too nervous to bring it up with your partner? Consider using one or all of these strategies to help break the ice.
Draw From Past Negative Experiences
Did your parents or your partner’s parents get a divorce? Was it unexpected? Did it get dirty and expensive? Did one or both of the parents become financially ruined by it? Did you or your partner have to miss summer camp or forgo a car or have other financial needs unmet because the parents’ money was tied up paying legal fees instead of providing for the children?
Painful childhood memories are strong. People don’t want to repeat history. They don’t want to go through the same things their parents did. They don’t want their children to live through the financial hardship that they had as a chid growing up in a divorcing home.
Leverage this pain. Explain that in the off chance that you will need a divorce, a prenup will allow you and your partner to avoid reliving the nightmare of divorce court and endless fights over finances. The prenup will speed up the process, making it emotionally easier on your children. It will reduce the cost of divorce, giving both of you more freedom to spend the money on the family needs instead of the lawyer’s needs. It will allow you to process through the grief and pain of a divorce because you’ll already have the financial questions answered.
Provide a Fantasy
Is your partner paying 75% of the mortgage on the house that you live in? Does your partner have an envious retirement account? Does your partner have a promising and prosperous career? Is your partner a phenomenal parent? Will your kids benefit from your partner being a full-time, stay-at-home parent? Has your partner always wanted to homeschool the children?
Leverage these desires and successes. Paint a picture to your partner where in the off chance that you’ll need a divorce, your partner will walk away financially rewarded for their contribution to the marriage. If your partner is paying more for the house, paint a picture where your partner will get to keep more equity in the home at divorce instead of having to split it 50/50. Describe how with a prenup, you would be unable to go after your partner’s retirement account or demand alimony. If your partner has always dreamed of raising children full-time, explain that a prenup can guarantee that your parent will be compensated at divorce for the hard work be it with a lump sum payment, yearly alimony, or by getting to keep most of the family property.
Instead of focusing on how you will benefit from a prenup, show to your partner how they will benefit from it.
Focus on the Present
Are you and your partner keeping separate checking accounts? Do you split the bills? Are you creating individual retirement plans? Is the philosophy in your relationship that each owns their own property and income?
If so, point out that the prenup will take your reality and document it in writing, so that in the off chance of a divorce, your life can continue as it currently is, with each of you owning your own property, being responsible for your own debt, and continuing to be an independent individual. Without a prenup, your independence and understanding of equality will disappear and you will be at the mercy of what a stranger in a robe decides.
Talk Like an Insurance Agent
Insurance is not something people wake up wanting to buy. No one wants to think about becoming disabled, getting in a car accident, dying unexpectedly, being diagnosed with cancer. No one dreams of a divorce the morning of their wedding, but statics are statics. With a 40% chance of divorce, purchasing a prenup may be smarter than purchasing disability insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and health insurance — all types that you buy even if your odds of ever needing to use them is slim.
Purchasing a prenup doesn’t mean you’ll need to use it. Worst case scenario, you invest $1500 today and stay happily married for many years and never dust off that document. Worst case scenario of getting married without a prenup? You end up needing a divorce and that divorce ruins you financially and emotionally.
Whichever of these strategies you use to bring up the prenup to your partner, always remember that people are afraid of prenups because pop culture has painted them as a tool to deprive one spouse of financial stability. Except that’s false. Prenups create true equality and fairness because in a prenup, you and your partner get to decide what the two of you think is fair. Prenups are a symbol of love.