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Common reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement

Many people first hear of prenuptial agreements in media reports about celebrity divorces. Prenuptial agreements are, however, not only for the rich and famous, but can also be something that those in all walks of life should consider before getting married.

First, couples should realize that the law already imposes certain rules regarding what happens to marital property in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements, which typically dictate how property and financial assets are divided upon divorce, are simply a way for couples to avoid the default rules and to take control of their financial future.

Second, signing a prenuptial agreement can, in some cases, help a couple's relationship. Although many people may think that discussions about a prenuptial agreement could cause strife, many couples have discovered that it is easier to focus on their marriages with financial matters settled. More than anything else, prenuptial agreements require couples to have difficult financial discussions early on in their relationship, which can relieve stress. This is particularly true in situations where a spouse is entering his or her second or third marriage. In addition, prenuptial agreements allow couples to agree upon the terms of alimony or spousal support if they ever get divorced.

Third, prenuptial agreements can protect each spouse from the other person's debt. For example, it is not uncommon today for people entering into marriage to have significant student loan debt. Couples can use a prenuptial agreement to specify who is responsible for which debts.

Fourth, prenuptial agreements are particularly important for those who own their own businesses. Without a prenuptial agreement, the non-owner spouse may end up owning part of the business in the event of a divorce. If these issues are not resolved when a couple first gets married, it can cause the future of a business to be unclear.

Of course, no one ever enters a marriage planning to get a divorce, but the reality is that divorces are common. One of the most common causes of difficulty and stress in relationships is financial matters. Taking a proactive approach and staying on top of these sorts of issues can help strengthen a relationship and make it more likely to last long term. It may seem counterintuitive to some, but prenuptial agreements can play an important role in some marriages.

To learn more and to discuss whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you, consider contacting an experienced family law attorney.

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