Should I get a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract about what will happen with property, earnings, support and other issues if your planned marriage ends in divorce or death.  A prenuptial agreement is a very good idea if one or both partners have personal wealth before the marriage, if either partner has children before the marriage, or if the partners want to establish a way of dealing with their assets that is different than what the law would impose.  For an agreement to be valid and enforceable later, at death or divorce when it really matters, BOTH partners have to consult lawyers.  An agreement drafted by one partner’s lawyer, and not reviewed by a lawyer for the other, is probably not worth entering into.  Also, both partners have to be willing to give the other full disclosure of assets and debts; without this the agreement is probably worthless.

Obtaining a prenuptial agreement need not be expensive and can pay for itself many times over.  Also, negotiating an agreement is a perfect subject for the collaborative process.  With collaborative lawyers, the soon-to-be married partners can meet together with both lawyers in a civilized and friendly environment to work out the agreement.

Many people fear that entering into a prenuptial agreement will cast a cloud over the upcoming marriage, implying that the marriage won’t last and that divorce is inevitable.  This fear is misplaced.  Talking about finances before the marriage is usually very healthy for the relationship, and may actually prevent problems later on because the partners talk about their financial assumptions in advance.

Consulting a lawyer about a prenuptial agreement is a very small investment in something that could prove extremely valuable later, even if the parties never divorce and the marriage endures the test of time.

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