It’s the question you ask sometime between the big proposal and the walk down the aisle. “Can we get a prenuptial agreement?” It may be awkward at first, but according to Carolyn Grimes, family law attorney at Wade, Grimes, Friedman, Meinken & Leischner, PLLC, the issues in a prenuptial agreement are usually the financial issues that couples need to discuss before getting married and combining finances—or not combining finances.
Have the Conversations Well Before the Big Day
Don’t procrastinate. Instead, tell your partner you want a prenup. Ms. Grimes says to make sure you discuss the issues first with your partner for any prenuptial agreements ahead of each side talking to a lawyer. Both parties need to have input into a prenuptial agreement. Sending a long legal document to your partner without any discussion between the two of you first will not create trust between the two of you—in fact, it may damage the trust and the relationship.
Both Sides Need to Participate in Creating the Prenuptial Agreement
While you may be the one initially pushing for the prenup, it is important to remember the document serves both parties. Collaborating on a big decision like this will not only allow for you and your partner to make expectations, wants, and needs clear, but it will help to build a sense of comradery.
According to Ms. Grimes, prenups can even help soon-to-be-spouses lay everything on the table – encouraging each other to talk about spending habits, college loans, credit card and other debt. It’s best to deal with those topics early and limit surprises after the walk down the aisle.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Explaining why you want the prenup and what your expectations are for the process can eliminate hassle and resentment later down the line and encourage your partner to reciprocate. As the process moves forward, make sure that you check in with each other and continue to build on that trust and transparency. It is also required under Virginia law, that each side disclose their assets and debts in writing in schedules which are attached to and a part of the prenuptial agreement.
Consult the Professionals
While these tips might make the prenup conversation a bit easier, remember that a little bit of awkwardness is inevitable. You might just need to be willing to embrace it, but you certainly don’t have to do it alone. If you and your partner are in the process of drafting a prenup or want to talk to the experts, please contact Carolyn Grimes.
About the Author
Carolyn Grimes is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law including divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, retirement issues, and prenuptial agreements, among other areas.
Consistently named a ‘Best Lawyer’ (from 2014-2023), Ms. Grimes has also been honored as an AV Preeminent (2001-2022) and Gold Client Champion (2019-2021) by Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, she’s been named a Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine Magazine (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021), a Top Attorney by Arlington Magazine (2019-2021), and a Top Attorney by Washingtonian Magazine (2015) as well as many other top attorney designations.
Whether you are facing a family law, protective order, estate planning, bankruptcy and/or criminal-law-related issue, Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC is here for you during challenging times.