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Wedding planning? Don’t forget the prenup

As anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows, there are numerous practical matters that must be attended to before the big day: guest lists, seating charts, wedding budgets and catering options, just to name a few. Another important practical matter that many couples must consider before marriage is whether to sign a prenuptial agreement – and if so, what the terms of that agreement should be.

Who should consider having a prenuptial agreement?

Not every couple needs a prenuptial agreement, but there are a number of circumstances that tend to make it a good idea to have one. Typically, the more assets a couple has, the more likely they are to benefit from having a prenuptial agreement. This is especially true when one spouse is coming into the marriage with significantly more wealth or assets than the other.

Similarly, a prenuptial agreement is often advisable if there is a significant discrepancy in debt levels or future earning potential between the spouses, or if one spouse plans to support the other while he or she is in school.

Another common situation that may require a prenup is when one or both spouses already have children from a prior relationship. In these cases, a prenuptial agreement can be an important part of protecting the long-term interests of those children by detailing what their property rights will be in the event of divorce. Considering that second and third marriages are statistically more likely to end in divorce than first marriages, according to U.S. Census data, it is often wise to consider a prenup when getting remarried, particularly when there are children involved.

Other reasons to have a prenup

Even when it is not strictly necessary, some couples choose to have a prenup simply as a way to clarify their expectations before marriage. In this type of situation, prenuptial agreements can provide a framework for important conversations about what each partner wants out of the marriage and what their plans are with regard to money, debt and property. Because these conversations are typically better had before marriage than after, many couples find that the process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement can actually help strengthen their relationship and provide a more solid foundation for their partnership in the years to come.

Contact a lawyer for more information

If you would like help creating a detailed and legally enforceable prenuptial agreement, or if you would like help deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, be sure to talk your situation over with a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area.