Ask Avvo: Is there anyway to make a prenup romantic?

Divorce, Relationships

What did you get your fiancé for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate? Flowers? A prenuptial agreement? To most, prenuptial agreements are the antithesis of romance. Who wants to talk about divorce before you even get married? And there’s no sugarcoating it; potential separation is what a prenup is really about.

A prenup is a contract that sets forth both parties’ rights in the event of death or divorce. These are issues that couples typically avoid discussing, especially when they’re busy planning a wedding. However, if you approach the process with an open mind, prenups can also be quite romantic.

Communicating before marriage about the issues that are most important to each partner is the essence of intimacy. You can even up the romance with creative clauses like a requirement of weekly flowers or an agreement that gifts between husband and wife will forever belong to the recipient. All it takes is some imagination and consideration to bring romance and levity to your prenup. Here, four tips to keep in mind.

1. Talk money, honey

During the process, each party must openly discuss assets, income and debt. Talking about financial issues may seem daunting, but it forces couples to examine serious topics and learn about the value that each partner places on money. Financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce, so talking about these points upfront is important to the health of a marriage, and the conversation can bring parties closer together.

2. Show some generosity

Prenuptial agreements are designed to determine the resolution of financial issues such as division of marital assets or payment of alimony before a divorce ever occurs. But the resolution does not need to be one-sided. Showing generosity in the negotiation of the agreement shows your soon-to-be spouse that you care about what happens to them even if the marriage doesn’t work out. For example, agreeing upon a fair alimony payment amount or classifying assets as marital, and therefore divisible in the event of a divorce, are the types of thoughtful, kind gestures you should start your marriage with anyway.

3. Consider what’s best for your partner

Taking the time to understand your partner’s concerns about the agreement and ensuring that your partner has the chance to consult with independent counsel is another way to make the process less taxing on your relationship. If the final agreement is the result of true negotiation, and both parties feel they have had a full and fair opportunity to air their feelings, they will both feel satisfied with the final product.

4. Add some love and levity

If you’ve started the process and it’s feeling more rigorous than romantic, you can have some fun with additional clauses. For example, you can contract a yearly tropical getaway or mandatory weekly date nights. Like clauses concerning infidelity or partners’ social media habits, these “performance” clauses may not be enforceable, but they can add some mood-lightening playfulness to an otherwise serious document.

If, despite your best efforts at creative contracting, your fiancé still isn’t thrilled about the process, know that it’s an incredibly worthwhile exercise for the health of marital communication and fairness in the event things don’t work out. Plus, there are always flowers and candy to sweeten the deal.