How to bring up a
postnup without wrecking your marriage
Bringing up a postnuptial agreement can be a delicate
Oftentimes the spouse who has the most at stake financially
in a marriage is the one who initiates the postnup. However, in
many cases the less-empowered spouse is the one who really needs
the security of knowing where he or she will stand financially if
the marriage fails.
Unfortunately, that reasoning usually goes out the
window. The spouse hears "postnup" and automatically thinks
Here are a few ways to bring up a postnup without
setting off fireworks:
- Make it a "we" discussion, not a "me"
discussion: Although your financial stakes may differ, your
emotional stakes in your marriage should be the same. It may be
a hard conversation for both of you, but if a postnup can release
anxiety and uncertainty from your marriage, it's well worth it.
- Use the circumstances: A huge bonus, new
job, new lifestyle or an inheritance can be the perfect opportunity
to broach the idea of a marital agreement.
- Use your prenup: If you signed a prenup,
suggest that the two of you review it together to see if it still
seems fair and reasonable to both of you.
- Group it with other necessary work: Making
out a will or engaging in estate or financial planning can segue
nicely into a postnuptial discussion.
- Bring up the invested parties: Do it for
the kids or the family business, anyone who could potentially
be treated unfairly by the dissolution of your marriage.
- Have your attorney or family planner bring it
up: A neutral third party adviser can often take some of the
suspicion and emotion out of a postnup discussion.
Jay MacDonald is a contributing editor
based in Mississippi.
-- Updated: May 15, 2003