Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pre-nup Question

Recently, I saw this question posted in a marriage info chat room.

I am a 45 year old professional man who recently became engaged to a lovely 35 year old woman. This is a second marriage for both of us. I mentioned that I believed a pre-nuptual agreement would be a good idea. (Our individual assets are about equal.) She went nuts and accused me of not trusting her. She says this lack of trust is setting us up for a self fulfilling prophecy that the relationship will eventually end in divorce. Isn't a pre-nup in both of our best interests? What am I missing? Signed, Confused

Dear Confused,

Creating a pre-nup is an exercise in exploration. If a couple is unable to create a pre-nup and deal with all of the un-pleasantries that the process presents I dont know how they will be able to deal with the un-pleasantries that life inevitably presents.

A well thought out pre-nup should address much more then how the marriage will end. A pre-nup should address how the marriage will operate. And, that is the discussion that should come first. Creating a thorough pre-nup that addresses how the marriage will operate will make divorce much LESS likely. (The creation process will help you fend off unmet expectations - one of the key marriage destroyers.) Yes, every good plan has an exit strategy. And, a pre-nup should have an exit strategy but that's just a part of it. Finally, creating a pre-nup should be a joint effort. The WORST thing you can do is go to a lawyer, have him/her prepare a pre-nup and then present it to your beloved. That is a sure fire way to create mis-trust. In my upcoming book - The Bride's Guide To Starting Your Marriage Off Right - I present guidelines for preparing a Marriage Pact. Talk to your fiancee about preparing a Marriage Pact - an idea that should be a lot easier for her to grasp.

Your reactions to this hot button issue should be giving you both a lot of information as to what your marriage is going to feel like. And, how you work through this issue will give me a lot of information as to what your marriage will look like.

Happy trails, Elinor