Buying auto insurance does not mean you plan to be in an accident. Installing a smoke alarm in your house does not mean you expect it to burn down. Getting an annual check-up does not mean you are convinced that cancer is just around the corner. So why are so many spouses-to-be afraid that asking for a prenuptial agreement suggests they have doubts about the marriage?

Unfortunately, the spouse-to-be on the receiving end of the request often interprets it that way, leading to conflict and sometimes even the end of the engagement. Advice on managing the potential emotional turmoil of requesting a pre-nup is probably best left to a counselor or clergy; but from a legal standpoint, there are many good, rational reasons one can provide when broaching the subject that could smooth the way.

First, explain to your betrothed that a pre-nup protects both of you against the uncertainty of the future. If one partner is coming into the marriage with more assets, the pre-nup can protect those assets (particularly important when there are children from a previous marriage) while guaranteeing fair treatment for the less-monied partner, should the marriage end. If there are plans for children, the spouse most likely to give up a career to raise the children can use the pre-nup to establish a higher level of support than statutory guidelines might produce — particularly if proposed alimony reform laws are passed in Florida.

The pre-nup can also protect people outside of the marriage — for example, business partners who do not want to risk winding up with an unintended partner.  Finally, if one spouse comes from a wealthy family, a pre-nup can be a prerequisite to good relationships with in-laws who are concerned about preserving family wealth. And anything that keeps the in-laws happy is usually a good idea.

Posted in Divorce