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WHY COUPLES SHOULD CONSIDER A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT

Once thought to be “deal killers” for prospective newlyweds, and the domain of the rich and famous, prenuptial agreements (prenups), are increasingly finding their way into the pre-vow conversations of “common folk” who understand the real world dynamics of marriage today. They are especially common among couples tying the knot for the second or third time.  Although prenups are becoming more socially acceptable, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Prenups entered into for the wrong reasons, or designed poorly can be ticking time bombs that can devastate the marriages they were intended to protect.

Essentially, a prenup is a legal arrangement between two people who acknowledge that a union of two people is also a merger of financial interests. Couples who enter into a prenup have taken a moment to see the benefit of disenfranchising their financial interests from their emotional interests for the sake of their marriage. For many couples, creating a legal foundation for the allocation of assets, debt and other financial obligations – before, during and after the marriage – can actually provide greater emotional security. However, prenups are not for everyone; they are typically best utilized in cases where one or both of the spouses bring significant assets or debt into a marriage.

A couple should consider a prenup when one or both people;

  • has significant, separate assets or debt
  • has a business interest
  • is due to inherit significant assets
  • has children from a previous marriage
  • has dependent family members
  • is expecting a significant increase in earnings from a business or profession

Another reason a young couple might consider a prenup is when one of the spouses will be expected to be a stay-at-home parent, or plans to pursue an education, or any other circumstance that might require a delayed career start. A prenup should compensate for the inequity in family contribution versus the financial contribution made during that period.

While some people may feel that a prenup is nothing more than a prepackaged divorce decree, they can actually be an effective way for couples to create an open communication on money matters (often a source of marital strife) and develop shared values and beliefs about money. The process of creating a prenup can be an extraordinary opportunity for a couple to strengthen their emotional union while disarming the financial land mines that can destroy a marriage. Many couples now engage in pre-marital counseling as a way to strengthen their emotional bond. A prenup is just an extra measure to strengthen their financial bond.

 

 

 

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