Thursday, July 31, 2008

8 Reasons Why You Should Get A Prenuptial Agreement

Thanks to Michael Sherman's Alabama Family Law Blog, I saw a great post that originated in the Prenuptial Agreements blog. That blog is obviously very specialized and seems to cover the subject from many different angles. I recommend that anyone thinking about a prenuptial agreement read through the various posts on different aspects of prenuptial agreements. The following is the post that originally appeared in the Prenuptial Agreements blog.

"A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between two people that deals with the financial consequences of their marriage ending.
All marrying couples have a 'prenuptial agreement' - it is known as 'divorce law.' However, a lot of people are unhappy with the way divorce law works, and prefer to take control of their lives, rather than leave it in the hands of the government. In these cases, it makes a lot of sense to get a customized prenup.

Getting a prenuptial agreement is particularly important in these 8 cases:

1. You are much wealthier than your partner. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that your partner is marrying you for who you are, and not for your money.

2. You earn much more than your partner. A prenuptial agreement can be used in many states to limit the amount of alimony that is payable.

3. You are remarrying. When you remarry, your legal and financial concerns are often very different than in your first marriage. You may have children from a previous marriage, support obligations, and own a home or other significant assets. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that when you pass away, your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and that neither your first family, nor your new family are cut off.

4. Your partner has a high debt load. If you are marrying someone with a significant debt load, and don't want to be responsible for these debts if your marriage ends, then a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that this does not happen.

5. You own part of a business. Without a prenuptial agreement, when your marriage ends, your spouse could end up owning a share of your business. Your business partners may not want this to happen. A prenup can ensure that your spouse does not become an unwanted partner in your business.

6. To prevent your spouse from overturning your estate plan. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that you estate plan works, and, for instance, ensure that a specific heirloom remains in your family.

7. You are much poorer than your partner. Just as a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect a spouse who is well off, a prenup can also be used to ensure that the partner who is weaker financially is protected.

8. If you plan to quit your job to raise children. Quitting your job will negatively impact your income and your wealth. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that the financial burden of raising the children is shared fairly by both partners."

If any of these situations apply, you should contact an attorney right away to discuss whether a prenuptial agreement is advantageous in your situation. There are many considerations to make in deciding whether to pursue or oppose an agreement, but the presence of one of these conditions should make you stop and think about the possibility of negotiating an agreement. Even discussing the issue with your fiance can lead to hurt feelings and stress at a sometimes very difficult time in your life, so proceed cautiously. But do consider taking action for the reasons listed above. If you don't act in time, you can always consider a post-nuptial agreement, but that might be harder to get your new spouse to agree to. The best course is to act before you get married.

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