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Prenuptial agreements: the basics part I

Honesty is perhaps the most important aspect in any relationship. This is especially true when it comes to marriage as unions between couples who aren't able to openly and honestly discuss their thoughts, hopes, fears and concerns; often end in divorce.

Prior to marrying, many individuals have concerns. In many cases, these concerns center on the legal ownership or rights to the assets an individual brings to a marriage. This is often particularly true in cases where an individual has children from a previous marriage, a stake in a family business or a large amount of assets.

In this two-part blog post, we'll discuss the basic purpose of a prenuptial agreement as well as steps individuals can take to ensure a prenup is and will remain valid. Of course, for many betrothed couples, the very topic of signing a prenuptial agreement is a source of conflict.

While asking a spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic of gestures, doing so should not be viewed as a negative. Yes, it's true that approximately 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. This fact alone, however, may not be an individual's main motivator in requesting a fiancée sign a prenup.

The truth is that through the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement, individuals are forced to be honest and disclose information about their financial assets and debts. Additionally, discussions related to a prenuptial agreement often lead to candid and productive conversations about money, children and future goals; all of which can bring a couple closer together.

Once a couple has made the decision to draft a prenuptial agreement, both individuals should work to agree upon the contents and terms thereof. It's then important that both individuals retain separate legal counsel who can assist in ensuring a prenuptial agreement is fair and valid.

In our next post, we'll continue to discuss the legal basics of a prenuptial agreement, what should and should not be included and how to ensure a prenup holds up in court.

Source: Bankrate, "Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements," 2014

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