Women and Prenups

A recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that in the last three years, approximately 46% of divorce attorneys report that in the last three years they have seen an increase in the number of women who begin the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement.  In a culture where women are increasingly focused on their careers and have more educational and work opportunities than their mother’s or grandmother’s generation, especially here in New York, it is not unusual for the average woman to have accrued significant personal property, savings accounts and/or retirement plans before she gets married.  The women’s movement of the modern world means that the typical woman has just as much to lose in the event of a divorce as her male counterpart.  If you are a woman who has gotten engaged recently or are thinking about marriage, you are going to want to consider being proactive.

Being the first one to bring up the idea of the prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, pre nuptial and antenuptial agreement- at least just the conversation- sets the tone for the financial atmosphere of your marriage, and makes a healthy statement about your own ability to shed any old genderoles from generations past and say, I am taking control of my future, and I want to do this together. There are situations where women have been concerned that simply because they are a member of the fairer sex that their partner will feel somehow emasculated by her ability to be a decision maker when it comes to finances- this is an important tone to set early on because you don’t want to be second fiddle as a decision maker. This whole idea completely excludes who is the greater or lesser earning spouse and says more about being the one to take control and plan for your future. Let’s face the facts, too- women tend to be the planners.

If you’ve already started planning the wedding then we are sure you see what we mean. You’re likely the party planner, social event organizer, home decorator, family gathering coordinator and even the dry cleaning scheduler. Often times, men will do the financial planning, but bringing the prenups to the conversation happens so last minute that the couple is left in a conundrum- how do we get the wedding planning done, figure out the details of our honeymoon, all of the other things that come with getting married like premarital spiritual counseling all the way to applying for the actual marriage license in New York- and now you’re springing a prenups talk on me? Don’t let that happen, take control now and bring it up.

From some reading we have done, we have found that most marital counselors and relationship therapists suggest having this type of conversation at a neutral time. This works for having a dialogue about any topic- not just financial. They call this having a meta-conversation- which is a talk about having a talk (I know, this sounds like a lot of self-help sort of lingo, but it is thus for a reason; because it’s true, and in their experience this is what works!) at a time when neither of you are in a high stress situation- no deadlines for work, family coming over in an hour, arguing about any bills. The prenup talk taken alone and in a neutral context is nothing to be afraid of – and women, since you are the tough, do-it-all planners that- let’s face it- men need or they’d probably still be eating chicken wings for dinner every night, losing dry cleaning stubs, forgetting about plans they’d made and leaving dirty laundry on the floor all over the house- women are the glue of a household.

Don’t wait for your significant other to bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement as it is just as much for the protection of your interests as it is for the protection of your future spouse. Ladies, we know you do it all- those of us men who have wives don’t want to admit it all the time, but we need you to help guide conversations, say the things we may want to say but don’t have the guts to, and sometimes financial issues are a part of that little push we need into a conversation. Have the discussion, and start the process of drafting your prenups- this will be one of the most important items on your ‘Wedding Planning To Do list’, and the wonderful benefits of developing your prenuptial agreement will last a lot longer than your flowers and cake. Contact NYC Prenup today, and let us begin helping you plan for your future.