How can I persuade my future spouse to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is, generally, used by the party bringing the greater share of the assets to the marriage. If this is family wealth then it may be the parents who are putting pressure on their child to have such an agreement. Most partners will be prepared to sign a pre-nuptial agreement but what can be done where the partner, very often the one with the lesser wealth, is reluctant to do so.
This is a difficult issue and, ultimately, the partner cannot be forced to enter into an agreement, leaving the party who seeks the agreement with the unenviable dilemma as to whether they are willing to proceed with the marriage in the absence of such an agreement.
As a starting point, it is important to emphasis that the discussions concerning the agreement should be commenced at an early stage and not left to the last minute when considerable funds may have already been spent on the big day, making the decision even harder for the partner who finds that their future spouse does not wish to sign. In any event the agreement must not be signed within the 28 day period before the date of the wedding and, bearing in mind how long it can take to draft/agree the terms of an agreement it is sensible to start discussions as to the terms at least six months before the date of the wedding in order to avoid any last minute difficulties.
If the reluctant partner refuses to sign then there is not a great deal that can be done about it but very often any reluctance is based upon lack of knowledge and appreciation of the benefits of having an agreement. If the reluctant partner falls within the latter category then an explanation as to the benefits may well prompt them to change their mind.
The particular benefits will depend upon the circumstances of the case but will generally include, at the top of the list, that such an agreement will go some way to providing clarity and certainty as to how the assets are to be divided in the event that the marriage ends in divorce.
The process of divorce can be fairly traumatic for many people for a variety of reasons including uncertainty as to the division of the assets and other financial matters. If an appropriately drafted pre-nuptial agreement is in place then this can provide some peace of mind as to this important aspect of the separation.