I recently attended a seminar that explored the value of negotiating a prenuptial agreement in the collaborative process. Marriage is an economic partnership as well as a romantic union and many couples enter into a marriage not understanding finances or what assets and or debts they hold coming into a marriage. Prenuptial agreements bring the issue of money, which is often a very sensitive subject, to the forefront prior to the formation of a partnership.
Prenuptial agreements are traditionally drafted by one partner’s attorney and handed to the other partner for review by his or her attorney without any prior negotiation or discussion just before the wedding date. Negotiating a prenuptial agreement together in the collaborative process instead empowers and enables a couple to work together in an open and transparent environment. With the help of professionals a couple can engage in what can be a difficult dialog about finances. Many couples actually find this process helpful and it gives them a framework for future dialogue and disputes about money as well as other issues.
In fact, a prenuptial agreement is primarily an agreement between partners as to how assets and debts coming into the marriage and during a marriage will be allocated in the event of divorce. A prenuptial serves to educate the less informed partner and at the same time alleviates any anxiety the issue of money can have on both people. Before marriage couples can define and clarify their own financial expectations; a discussion which for many couples never occurs during in their relationship prior to marriage and often becomes the primary reason for their subsequent difficulties that may ensue.
Essentially, the collaborative process is an opportunity for both partners to charter and control their own destiny by creating a financial contract that addresses each of their needs and interests. The romantic ceremony to follow will have a better foundation to build a long-standing union.