Prenups for love? Readers tell their stories

Relationships, Money

When it comes to successful relationships built on good communication and mutual trust, being on the same page financially is essential. The decision to write up a prenuptial agreement can be a key component to help build that trust, and better understand what matters most to your partner—and to yourself.

To test that theory, Avvo asked readers who had created a prenup with their partner to tell us their stories. How did composing a prenuptial agreement and having the conversation about mutual finances benefit your relationship?

Couples first, prenups second

Dozens of people responded, from a wide spectrum of age ranges, income levels, and locations around the country. They told us about how having an agreement in place made it easier to move forward as a couple. We heard stories about how they brought up the idea of getting a prenup, what factors drove their agreements, and the benefits they’d noticed after going through the process. “I never knew we had so many differences until we started ours,” said a respondent from Kentucky. “It was a definite eye opener and really lets you in your significant other’s mind.”

The relationship, in fact, was at the center of most every response. Couples were more than happy to tell us their own specific “meet cute” stories. “Met him through a mutual friend that I was supposed to go out on a date with, but cancelled and went out with [my future partner] instead,” said one respondent. “We fell in love instantly,” said another. “We were both separated and months away from being divorced from our first marriages. It wasn’t actually our intention to get so serious so fast, but when you know [they’re] the one, you just know.”

One couple’s story of how they met was definitely among the more interesting ones, and also made the point that getting a prenup is only partially about money already in hand. “Honestly, we met at a homeless shelter,” said one person from New Jersey. “I was bouncing from place to place with no family, no money, no job and no place to stay.”

But while the beginnings may have been humble, sometimes it’s about the potential for earnings ahead, and how a couple will deal with future events. “We both agree a prenup may be a fair option to have in place. We aren’t planning to break up but we both want to be smart.”

Difficulty and deliverance

The process isn’t always easy. One of the more common areas of conversation is how to handle issues around parenting and children. The considerations are exponentially more complicated than when two people are considering just their own lives and finances, as one respondent pointed out.

“There were so many [sticking points],” they said, “what to do with the life insurance money, who gets what (to the kids), if we could take on the entire family if the other one died . . . where the kids would spend holiday and with whom, the family pets, how to raise the children (faith) and what our wishes are for them in the future.”

Still, in the end, while there was a fair amount of work and hard conversations involved, the results were worth it, and often exorcised demons from previous relationships that didn’t work out as well.

“My ex and I battled and disagreed on practically every decision and matter we found before us,” said one respondent from Illinois. “If the topic was the color of the sky, we would have even disagreed about that. Little did I realize, with all the feuding over money, obstinate, unbreakable roots began to form . . . I watched the children suffer and get wrapped in these vicious roots.”

That hard-won experience led to a happy outcome, however. “[My partner] and I had the foresight to symbolically and legally set our priorities in order prior to making our wedding vows,” they said. “Signing a prenuptial agreement instilled a confidence in our marriage and took away the negative feelings of uncertainty and contingency. I had no idea the peace of mind signing a prenup would provide!”

“It really should be required before any marriage vows are said,” adds the respondent from Kentucky. “It’s better to prepare and know exactly what you are getting into, since sometimes love can be blind and you don’t cross a lot of these bridges until something has already happened.”