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Asking for a Premarital Agreement

05th January 2010
By Peacetalks in Divorce
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By Diana Mercer, Attorney-Mediator, Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.,

Robert had been married to his first wife for over 40 years when she died. He has met someone new and is ready to re-marry. Robert loves his fiancé and is eager to start a new life and new traditions with her. Their families are blending well, promising many new happy memories and cherished family events.

Robert wants to make sure that his children from his first marriage receive their intended inheritance.

Robert's fiancé Jane was coming into the marriage with a real estate license and successful part-time career. She also had an annuity payment coming in from an insurance policy she held on her husband who had passed away five years earlier. Jane also owned a family cottage on the lake.

Robert and Jane moved quickly in their relationship. They had known each other growing up, and then had only very brief contact over the years through mutual friends. When they both found themselves to be widowed, they saw no reason to not get married right away. To secure their relationship, they wanted do discuss how they would handle bringing together the strands of two lives without any tangles.

Jane also had concerns that Robert's children would think she was a gold digger. She knew her marriage to their father was moving very quickly after the death of their mother and she wanted them to feel safe in knowing she was marrying Robert because she loved him.

Jane decided to ask Robert to have a Premarital Mediation Agreement with her before their marriage, and invite their children to review it. Jane thought this would give their entire family an opportunity to have a conversation about how they wanted to define and safeguard their new family structure.

If you are considering a Pre-marital agreement and are not sure where to start, here's a list of topics for discussion

How to Bring it Up

Jane was really nervous to bring up the prenup to Robert. She knew this wasn't a casual conversation. In her mind the key was to get detailed and specific. Jane felt that once she and Robert got clear on their lifestyle, roles and financial responsibility within their marriage, they could relax and enjoy some romance and excitement. She decided to bring it up soon after Robert proposed rather than put it off too close to the wedding day.

More and more "regular" people are having this discussion every day.
Premarital agreements are not just for rich people or those who assume they will get divorced. There are lots of reasons to get a Premarital Agreement

Where to Bring it Up

Jane and Robert seemed to have the best conversations over pizza in their favorite Italian restaurant. Something about sitting across from each other with nothing to do but wait for pizza, gave them the chance to visit freely without pressures of home or work. Jane decided to invite Robert for pizza to bring up the Premarital Agreement with him. Robert felt totally relaxed and was proud of Jane for being so thoughtful and level headed.

Jane knew they could get a mediator to assist them in their future discussions. More and more couples are choosing to mediate their premarital agreement rather than using two lawyers in an adversarial system. To find out more, click here ).

A Series of Conversations

The first conversation Jane and Robert had about their Premarital Agreement was very brief. They jotted a few major ideas down on a napkin and tucked it away for later. A Premarital Agreement should be developed with both of you going back and forth with your concerns. You may not realize something is important to you until your fiancé stimulates it in conversation. The conversation is not meant to be scary; rather it should make you feel safer and more secure in your union.

The reason Premarital Agreements are unsavory is because they are in essence an acknowledgement that your marriage may not last. Let's face the truth, though: Half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce Mediation.
Given that statistic, it makes more sense to be realistic and to decide how you will dissolve your relationship rather than letting the government decide how you'll dissolve your relationship….because if you don't make these decisions yourselves and write them down in a prenup, the government will make them for you. Are you sure that's what you want?

Another key factor to consider is that a prenup can ONLY be successful if both people are completely open and honest with their finances. Some people think it is unromantic to talk about money issues. However, it is critical that you know who you are marrying in terms of money issues. Who wants to find out after the wedding that they live with someone who hides debt or spending, forgets to pay bills or is a gambler or compulsive shopper? These issues may be hidden from you until you actually live with the person. By bringing them up in advance, you have a chance to address them before you get married, rather than dealing with a surprise after the honeymoon.

A fair, respectful and loving Premarital Agreement can help you relax and enjoy every moment of your wedding. If you want to talk about prenups with others who are considering a prenup, too, be sure to visit the Peace Talks Premarital blog at

Peace talks is a Los Angeles family law mediation firm offering services including divorce mediation, Parenting Plan Mediation, Premarital Mediation in Los Angeles, Playa Del Ray areas.
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