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How to talk to your partner about a prenuptial agreement

Many couples in Washington could benefit from having a prenuptial agreement. Prenups give you the opportunity to have an honest conversation about finances and what is important to each of you before you get married. They also allow you to protect certain assets in the event of a divorce.

Despite the pros of a prenup, they are still an uncomfortable topic for some couples to discuss. For those of you who want a prenup but are worried about how your partner might react or the awkward conversation that might follow, a recent article in The New York Times Magazine offered some advice.

First, timing is important. Bring up a prenup when you and your partner are on good terms, not when you are already tense or in the middle of an argument. This can help promote a rational, calm conversation.

It is also necessary to discuss a prenup far in advance of your wedding. Waiting until the week before will not only take your partner off-guard, but it will also make it less likely to hold up in court if you need it to. If a judge thinks the prenup was signed under duress, it will probably be tossed out and you'll be back where you started. It is best to give yourselves ample time to talk through the need for a prenup and the terms.

Next, make sure the terms you discuss are reasonable. So-called lifestyle clauses, like requiring a spouse to maintain a certain weight throughout the marriage, are unenforceable for the most part and can render your agreement invalid. Stick to terms that are reasonable and do not heavily favor one person over the other, and always have a lawyer review it before you sign.

Finally, remember that your partner is the person you love and want to be with for the rest of your life. Discussing a prenup is uncomfortable, so do your best to be nice and understanding.

Source: The New York Times Magazine, "How to Negotiate a Prenup," Malia Wollan, March 20, 2015

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