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Delicate conversations: the emotions of prenuptial agreements

Delicate conversations cannot be fully planned out. Maybe the subject is asking a marriage partner for a divorce after many years of marriage. Or, on the other end, it could be asking a would-be spouse for a prenuptial agreement before going through with the marriage.

Either way, conversations like these call for considerable verbal finesse. After all, when raising emotional issues like this, you may very well encounter an emotional response.

That is why, for people in Illinois and across the nation, it makes sense to become more aware of some of the rhetorical strategies available for handling difficult discussions with a partner or proposed partner.

To be sure, prenuptial agreements are not merely a way to protect separate property and divide marital property in the event of divorce. When viewed more positively, they can be seen as a form of contingency planning.

Prenuptial agreements can address potential questions about who would get certain property brought into a marriage, if that marriage were to end in divorce. In that sense, a prenup can enable a couple to clarify issues in advance and move forward into marriage.

That said, however, you do run the risk of alienating your interlocutor - the partner to whom you are speaking - if you fail to be subtle in explaining the benefits of a prenuptial agreement. After all, on a purely emotional level, it seems to undercut a couple's love connection by looking ahead to a possible divorce.

That is why a number of lawyers and psychologists encourage someone who is interested in a prenup to not think only of himself or herself. Someone who broaches the idea of a prenuptial agreement to a potential spouse should not do so in a self-serving way.

In our next post, we will discuss in more detail how to go about this.

Source: Entrepreneur, "How to Ask Your Partner for a Prenup," Nadia Goodman, June 19, 2013

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