By Amanda Singer
It has been a popular year for weddings as several couples delayed their weddings in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Fall is approaching there are still many couples gearing up for a wedding in 2022.
While you’re putting together the final touches and dreaming about your big day, it is important to set up the foundation for a long-lasting marriage. Furthermore, all too many couples overlook the fantastic benefits a premarital agreement (also known as a prenuptial agreement or prenup) can provide for your marriage. The mediators at West Coast Family Mediation Center are happy to assist couples throughout California in creating a mutually beneficial premarital agreement that can help save your marriage.
Now you might be wondering how a premarital agreement can save your marriage. Many people believe that if you ask your future spouse for a premarital agreement, that means that you don’t trust them. However, we feel strongly that it’s the opposite and by putting together a premarital agreement before you get married, you’re more likely to save your marriage and be less likely to get divorced.
One of the biggest causes of marital conflict is unmet or conflicting expectations. Before a couple commits to each other, it is crucial that they sit down and discuss what roles, responsibilities, and tasks they would like to take on. How will finances be organized? Will they have children? And if so, what will that look like? Will one spouse stay home? Who will work? These are important questions that are all too often ignored before tying the knot.
A premarital agreement provides each spouse with the opportunity to sit down and discuss important issues before they become large conflicts. It’s important to understand what your future spouses’ expectations are and if they align with yours or not. I’m not saying that you must be on the same page about everything but there are certain things that are very important to be on the same page about because if you aren’t now, you’re unlikely to ever get there. By having these discussions and entering into a premarital agreement you’re saving your marriage from marital conflict from unmet or conflicting expectations.
Start with a Strong Foundation
Far too many people I know don’t have what they believe to be the tough conversations before they get married. I’ve had friends tell me they didn’t know their spouse’s income amount or what assets and debts they had before getting married. Now, this seems bizarre to me since my husband and I have been having these conversations since a few months into dating; granted he’s a financial planner and I’m a divorce mediator so that probably helped with having those conversations. Regardless, it’s so important to have those conversations early.
By starting with a strong foundation, you are much more likely to save your marriage and not end up in my office for a divorce down the road. If you and your spouse have those conversations early on then you’re starting your marriage with a strong foundation that you’ll be able to build on. Just like a house isn’t stable without a strong foundation, neither will your marriage. Part of a premarital agreement requires both parties to disclose all their assets and debts as well as discuss their current income and expenses. You’re required to have these conversations and discuss early what each of your financial pictures looks like. By doing this early on you’re more likely to continue those conversations throughout your marriage and make sure that neither of you doesn’t communicate about something financially that could cause conflict.
Mediation Before Therapy
Married couples tend to sit down with a neutral third party when they are having problems communicating and even some couples do so before they get married, but it’s much less common. We believe in proactive discussions before tempers rise, letting you discuss the issues that are important to you before anger gets in the way. Mediators are specially trained to deal with conflict. We are used to talking about difficult, awkward, or embarrassing issues. Trust us; we have heard it all! We can also bring up potential concerns that you may not have thought about yet. Many couples that come to us with the goal of creating a premarital agreement end up leaving much happier with a deeper understanding of their soon-to-be spouse.
Marriage Insurance Policy
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about premarital agreements is that they are planning for a divorce. Of course, no one gets married knowing that they will divorce, or nobody would be getting married! However, it’s just like you don’t purchase homeowners’ insurance with the expectation that your house will burn down, you purchase it hoping that it never does and knowing that if something did happen you have a plan in place. A premarital agreement is an insurance policy that if you get a divorce, you will have clear instructions on what and how your assets should be divided. You can rest assured knowing that you’ve discussed the important items ahead of time with the premarital agreement and that’s likely to save your marriage on its own, however, if it doesn’t then you already have many of the important items documented and agreed upon. Prenups can save you time, stress, and money before, during, and in the unfortunate event that you do get divorced.
Are you cohabiting with a partner already or considering it and want to discuss a premarital agreement? At West Coast Family Mediation Center, we are happy to assist couples throughout California in creating a mutually beneficial premarital agreement that can help save your marriage. Contact West Coast Family Mediation at (858) 736-2411 to schedule a free virtual consultation.