If you are getting married, perhaps the last thing you want to think about is what will happen if your marriage ends in divorce. Because of this, it can be hurtful and surprising if your partner comes to you and asks you to sign a premarital agreement.
If you are in this situation, try not to panic or get angry. There are ways to respond to this situation that allow you and your soon-to-be spouse to address the matter peacefully.
You might assume that wanting a premarital agreement indicates a person doubts the marriage will last or does not trust you. However, there are many reasons why people pursue these agreements that have nothing to do with doubts or distrust.
Ask why your partner wants a premarital agreement. Is it to shield each other from existing debts, or to protect a business or family property? Is it about security? Is a parent putting pressure on him or her? Perhaps he or she witnessed an ugly divorce and wants to ensure you never have the same experience.
Take your time to digest the request
Immediately denying or signing an agreement can both be costly mistakes. Take your time to consider what your partner is asking and how you want to respond.
You should also take your time to examine your own needs, as well. Premarital agreements can benefit both parties, so consider what terms would allow you to feel protected.
Prepare to negotiate
You do not need to accept whatever your partner presents to you. Doing so could leave you vulnerable to disadvantageous conditions and restrictions. Instead, carefully review the document and identify terms you would like to change, add or remove.
Ask for help
While it can seem easiest to rely on your trusted partner for guidance in legal matters, when it comes to a contract, each person should have individual legal representation.
An attorney can review an agreement to determine whether it is fair and enforceable under Texas laws. He or she can also negotiate on your behalf.
Keep things in perspective
Premarital agreements do not have to be an intimidating or upsetting topic of discussion. Rather than think of them this way, think of them like a safety net. You may not plan on needing one, but you should be sure it is sound and effective in case you do.