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4 tips for negotiating a prenup with your partner

The idea of discussing a prenuptial agreement with your partner probably leaves you feeling uncomfortable at best. Prenups, however, are not what they once were. Today, many couples in California — not just the wealthy — turn to the contract as a way to not only protect their assets, but also to have an honest conversation about financial expectations before marriage.

If you think a prenup makes sense for your relationship, but you are not sure how to bring it up with your future spouse, a recent article in The New York Times Magazine offers a few suggestions for tactfully broaching the subject:

  1. Start the conversation when you and your partner are in a good place. If possible, avoid bringing up prenups during a fight or when tensions are high; it can make an already awkward conversation worse.
  2. Blame someone else. If your partner does not understand why you want a prenup or gets angry at the idea, explain that an advisor, parent or mentor suggested it.
  3. Don't wait until the last minute. A prenup should be negotiated and signed well before the marriage. In fact, if it is signed too close to the marriage, it may not hold up in court. Leave you and your partner enough time to discuss the need for a prenup and the details you want to include, so you both feel comfortable with what you're signing.
  4. Be nice. Do not forget that you are planning to marry your partner — for life. Be sensitive to his or her feelings about a prenup. For many people, creating a prenup can feel like planning for divorce.

Bringing up a prenup is a little scary, but approaching the conversation thoughtfully can go a long way toward promoting a productive exchange. Of course, to ensure that your prenup will be valid in the eyes of a court, it is important to have an attorney review it.