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Proposals, Prenuptial Agreements, Prepared

My fiancé – I still get giddy just thinking that word – planned our perfect proposal. I’d change nothing. Not even some of the candid photos of us that came out a little haphazard. They were still perfect.

Quickly, almost as soon as the ring slid into place on my finger, we started getting questions about when, where, how big, how much, who is invited, who isn’t – on and on. The questions were overwhelming. Especially since I didn’t even want to think about answering them until we had settled the most crucial part of our marriage planning: the prenupt.

My sister accused me of being unromantic. My father blamed my in-laws. My mother concocted a convoluted theory that my fiancé must believe I am some gold digging floozy – while she assured me she didn’t think I was a gold digging floozy. My friends just shrugged in puzzlement, perhaps because they knew both my fiancé and I were rich only in student loan debt.

Regardless of what my family and friends seem to think, my fiancé and I were united. We wanted to plan our marriage first, and almost more, than the wedding. First step, meeting with attorneys to work out our prenuptial agreement.

We don’t own a lot between the two of us. We each have a car, a few bank accounts, and a credit card or two. Saving for retirement is relatively new for both of us. We don’t own a home. Besides my car, my “biggest” asset is vintage piano that I was gifted from my parents – but it needs some restoration. My fiancé has dabbled in online trading, but I wouldn’t even call it a hobby.

The first lawyer I reached out to was unimpressed with out desire to have a prenuptial agreement, after I gave a quick rundown of what we possessed or had interests in. But after asking around and doing some research, I found the right fit. A lawyer who seemed to agree in the inherent value of planning the financial aspects of our marriage. She validated the notion that now is the best time to establish boundaries and rules when it comes to money and possessions. It was refreshing to hear it confirmed that even though we don’t have much in the way of valuables compared to the norm who expect prenuptial agreements, there is no better time to catalog what we have and what we have brought to our marriage.

I thoughts I knew everything I wanted in the prenuptial agreement, but after the consultation, I walked away with some great ideas for my fiancé and I to discuss when planning out future.

One of the more important ones to me was a clause about career and children. I definitely want children, but I am a little worried about defaulting to a stay at home parent when I also love working outside the home. Apparently prenuptial agreements can be crafted to anticipate this future choice when it comes to child rearing. That way, you aren’t left with empty promises should things not work out happily ever after, as the fairy tales claim. You are left with an enforceable agreement that you made and meant when, as a couple, you were at your best.

After taking a little longer than I anticipated, and many in depth conversations with my fiancé to figure out what kind of compromises and promises we wanted and needed to memorialize in writing and which we could leave to determine as they come, we finalized and signed our prenuptial agreement. Now that we’d taken the steps to plan our marriage, we were much more excited to plan the wedding.

Jess Lill