Second (or subsequent) marriages often take place later in the lives of at least one of the spouses. People entering into second marriages may have children from their first marriage, a business or accumulated assets over the course of their lives. Now they have found that special someone with whom they plan to spend the rest of their lives.
That is the dream, but the reality is that the divorce rate for second marriages is astronomical. Many people were aghast when the divorce rate for first marriages in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 50 percent. They might be shocked to know that U.S. census figures report that 75 percent of divorced people will remarry, and sixty percent of those couples will get divorced. With statistics like these, it seems only sensible that a couple sign a prenuptial agreement before they marry.
What purpose does a prenup serve?
Prenuptial agreements protect the personal and business assets that each party brings to the marriage. In the event of a divorce, it is clear who owns what so that when assets get divided there is no confusion. The challenge is that even bringing up the topic of a prenup can be very unromantic. By their very nature, a prenup is needed when there is an imbalance of assets, so the party without significant assets might take offense.
How to have a healthy discussion about prenuptial agreements
Let’s face it, the person who wants a prenup is most likely the partner who is concerned about protecting the assets they will bring into the marriage. They will also be the partner who will have to bring up the topic for discussion. This is never an easy conversation to have, and it is not something that you spring on your intended weeks before the nuptials. In fact, if it is your intention to ask for a prenuptial agreement, then bring the topic up as soon as you two start serious wedding planning. Your partner’s reaction to the discussion will reveal a lot about his or her perspective.
Try to include the discussion of a prenup within an overall discussion about finances and your goals for the future as a couple. It is best to have an “all cards on the table,” discussion that is honest and direct. Clearly articulate your thoughts and concerns and then allow your partner to speak freely about their thoughts and concerns. Do your best to keep emotions out of it, and work together to come up with a mutually acceptable plan.
This is all easier said than done, but a prenuptial agreement is binding. In order for the court to approve and enforce the prenup it must be made in good faith, and one party may not coerce the other into signing it, but agree to it freely without undue influence. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-501) Successfully resolving the issue of a pre-nuptial agreement can set the stage for how you communicate successfully as a couple.
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement before your upcoming marriage, contact a family law attorney right away to discuss the details and receive guidance and counsel from an experienced team of attorneys.
Contact Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC today at 615-391-4200 to schedule an in-person or video consultation with an experienced attorney.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.