Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now what?

A recent study conducted by XO Inc.- the parent corporation of The Knot (the most popular comprehensive wedding website) informs its target audience of engaged people that the average length of an engagement in the United States is approximately 14 months. If you’re newly engaged this month, this places your nuptials in April 2018- if you were to fall in the mid range of the couples polled in the study. The period of engagement is a time for more than just planning the wedding itself. The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center says that “the engagement period is the time to address any concerns that you have about your pending marriage”. The average engagement being just over a year is the range that Amy Guertin of “Our Everyday Life” calls ‘just right’. It is not so long as to draw out unnecessary details in an effort to reach in impractical perfect ideal. It is also not so short that you do not have the appropriate time to plan sufficiently.

Engagement is a time where you and your partner can begin to discuss certain topics with a level of seriousness that you may have avoided- or not thought to share- while you were ‘just dating’. Even if a couple lives together when they get engaged, and has done so for quite some time, they may not have addressed finances in a way that will affect them after a marriage. Splitting bills is not sharing assets, or being responsible for debt.

Planning a wedding, as you are finding out now if you did not know already, inevitably brings up money- especially for us New Yorkers. You know The Knot (whose home office is right here in Midtown, too) did some financial research and found that Manhattan and Long Island actually have the highest average wedding cost in the United States. The average price tags on weddings in New York City (Manhattan) and Long Island are $76,328 and $55,327, respectively.

With figures like that, it makes sense that your wedding planning is going to operate much the same way business decisions do. In many ways, this is the first time you and your new fiancé are going to get to be a team, making money decisions together and learning about one another’s priorities, desires, must-haves, and how frivolous or frugal you each are.

Typically, the first time one of the parties in a relationship raises the topic of the prenuptial agreement during the engagement. Having a prenuptial agreement in this day in age, in New York City, where the majority of us are driven professionals, is vital to fostering a healthy household economy. As we were saying, your relationship – soon to be marriage! – is like a small business, and in this business, your partner is your partner. What are you each bringing to the table, in every sense? Being engaged is a new phase of discovery, of planning and of getting to know one another on an even deeper level than you had prior. The conversations about your future together are going to be a building block of intimacy for the rest of your lives together. Creating a prenuptial agreement is a wonderful way to address that foundation.

According to a study conducted in 1990 (but is referenced today because its axioms still stand true, says the Marriage Resource Center), researchers discovered that not surprisingly when a couple has fewer economic pressures, they exhibit “warm and supportive behaviors” in their expressions to one another. [Cogner, R., et al. (1990). Linking Economic Hardship to Marital Quality and Instability. Journal of Marriage and Family, 52, no. 3: 643-656.]

The reason why it is crucial to address this fact now that you are engaged is because every couple should set themselves up for success in their marriage, in each facet of the relationship. Finances are a large part of how you will fare as a couple, as a family, in a variety of areas in your lives individually, and collectively. And of course, you both are in a positive, optimistic place- which is the best time to discuss the things that will foster that “warm and supportive behavior” that leads to healthy and lasting marriages. The prenuptial agreement process is not complicated when NYC Prenup assists a couple in preparing their document. The information that you provide is in a fill-in and question and answer format that prompts each area of discussion, which makes for a very seamless flow of dialogue. Our staff attorneys can answer questions you have if they arise in the process, and act as an unbiased third party to explain any related issues or questions either of you have. This is one of the reasons NYC Prenup is able to provide such a quick and cost effective service- we have streamlined the process for you so that you can get back to planning the much more exciting aspects of wedding preparation.

At the end of the day, it is a matter of you and your new fiance having a heart to heart, openly and honestly sharing with one another how you feel about a prenup, and if you want one, not being to fearful to share that with your partner. This is how the prenup discussion can actually be a wonderful tool in a new partnership, a vehicle for openness and learning about what is important to your soon to be spouse, and also a time for you to learn about what is important to you, as well.

Discuss it, think about it, and reach out to our staff attorneys. Let us help you celebrate your engagement by giving your marriage the gift of peace of mind, and begin your prenuptial agreement process today.