Remember that prenups are not legally binding in England, Wales or Northern Ireland but will usually be followed by a court as long as they meet certain conditions. They are legally binding in Scotland.
Suggesting a prenup can seem daunting, as there is often the assumption that if you believe in the possibility of divorce then you do not have faith in the relationship. So, if you believe that you need a prenup, it is important to know how to address the conversation without worrying your partner.
Timing is important when it comes to such premarital discussions. It will likely be an emotional discussion so waiting until a month or two before the wedding to bring it up is not a good idea. It is best to have the conversation as early as possible after your engagement.
When you get engaged you will need to discuss about how you will handle your finances as a married couple. As a prenup is primarily a financial document, this would be a good time to bring it up. The benefit is that you will already be in the state of mind to think about finances and the future in a logical way, so it may help to take some of the emotional weight from the discussion.
As always, with relationships, honesty is the best policy. Embrace the fact that it might be a tough conversation, so that you can get through it together.
During the discussion, be open with your partner about why you want a prenup and what you want to include. Also, allow them to speak honestly about what they would want to include. Getting everything out in the open beforehand will always be better than surprising them by adding stipulations to the prenup that they did not expect.
A big part of making any decision as a couple is listening. Though you are the one who is initiating the conversation, it is not all about you. Make sure to take the time to listen to what they would like to get out of a potential prenup and be open to their ideas and suggestions.
Additionally, though it’s clear that you may want a prenup, your partner may not want one or feel you need one at all. Don’t shoot them down or argue straight away. Listen to the concerns they have about the idea and take them on board. If you want to argue, or reassure them about the idea, take some time away to really think about their concerns before coming back to them.
Though it can be easy to look at a prenup as a way of you retaining the assets you want, it is actually about both of you dividing assets fairly. When approaching the subject of a prenup with your partner, remember to emphasise to them that they will be benefiting from the prenup just as much as you.
Don’t let yourself, or your partner, get carried away when thinking about dividing assets. It’s not about who gets the most but about how you decide to divide up the assets fairly that would make you both happy. That’s why this is the best time to make these decisions, rather than after a break up, as at this point your decisions are coming from a place of love and understanding of one another’s needs.
Do not force it
If after all the discussion your partner still insists that they don’t want or need a prenup this essentially means that you cannot get one. Remember that prenups are not legally binding in the UK (apart from Scotland) and so if the court feels that one party has been pressured into signing, it can be ignored.
For this reason, it is important to go into any prenup conversations with no expectations. There is a chance that you may not get the prenup you would like, so be prepared for this outcome, and don’t get angry about it. Trying to force your partner to sign a prenup could have a very negative impact on your relationship so try to be understanding and accepting.