How To Talk About a Pre-Nuptial Agreement

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Pre Nuptial Agreement | Anchorage, AK | MV Alaska LawPre-nuptial agreements offer a buffer against the possible prospect of a divorce, which is why they are helpful — but how do you begin talking about the possibility of ending your marriage before it has even properly begun?

It’s not easy.  The agreement forces you and your spouse to talk about matters of separation when you aren’t even separating.  Luckily, there are some ways to make the process go relatively smoothly.

An article from the Huffington Post details how to request a pre-nuptial:

  • Request a pre-nuptial agreement soon after getting engaged.  Ideally, a pre-nuptial agreement should be hashed out and signed way before the wedding. Bringing up the pre-nup right before the wedding or right after could leave your partner feeling ambushed.
  • Explain why you want a pre-nuptial agreement.  Whether it is because you have an inheritance or assets to protect, children from a previous marriage, or a family history of messy divorces it is important to be honest with your partner about why you want a pre-nuptial agreement.
  • Be transparent.    For a pre-nuptial agreement to be made valid, there has to be full disclosure.  You must be prepared to honestly share your net worth and income.  You must also reveal all your assets — any assets you own before marriage will likely remain your in the event of a divorce.  If your fiancée acknowledges your private property when you sign a pre-nuptial agreement, they can’t claim it as marital property later.
  • Be ready to negotiate the terms of the agreement.  A pre-nuptial agreement is not a one-sided agreement — a good agreement will encompass both you and your fiancées marital expectations.  So don’t be surprised when you have to negotiate and compromise.
  • Seek independent representation.  Separate lawyers will represent both you and your partner.  Don’t expect to just wash over your fiancée’s terms and conditions for the agreement — their attorney will be paying attention.
  • Allow for changes over time.  A pre-nuptial agreement addresses issues that have not yet or may not ever occur.  For example, your spouse may be independent and not be in need of spousal maintenance at the time of marriage, but may become a stay-at-home parent.  This time away from the workforce could reduce the party’s ability to get a job later on.  These possible issues should be addressed in the agreement — always be thinking ahead.
  • Remember that the goal is to get married.  Don’t be overly aggressive on unreasonable with your terms of agreement for the pre-nuptial.  This is the person you love and are set to marry; being over-the-top could result in unnecessary issues from the very beginning.

With a little patience, teamwork, and honesty a pre-nuptial agreement is one of the first hurtles you can complete as a couple that will ensure smooth sailing no matter what happens in your future.

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About Jenn Messick

I am an attorney practicing at M/V Alaska Law, an Anchorage, AK law firm helping clients all throughout Alaska navigate legal issues in divorce, family law, probate, and bankruptcy. I’m an outdoors person who enjoys hiking, skiing, hunting, spending time with family, and the beautiful scenery in Alaska. Jenn Messick’s Google+ Profile

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