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ARTICLES - Prenuptial Agreements

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW? BE SMART - UNDERSTAND THE LAW

By: Stuart H. Grozbean

Believe it or not nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Most end in expensive legal battles that cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, emotional distress and financial chaos.

Many couples deeply in love feel it is not romantic or gives a sense of disloyalty if they tell their significant other about the need to enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage. The fact is when you step back from your emotions-you are entering into a business partnership. Each of you is going to be contributing, whether financial or otherwise into this new partnership.

So the big question is whether you need a pre-nuptial agreement. Let's first start with the couple just starting out. You both have jobs, no money and great expectations. The answer is yes, because no one can predict the future. One or both may and probably will change jobs for the better. That means more money, assets, debts, and division of property.

If you have a good paying job and starting to accumulate assets or been previously married a prenuptial is a good idea so everyone knows if this new partnership does not work there is some method to untangle the financial web you have created during the marriage.

If you have children from a prior marriage a prenuptial is a good idea to protect your assets so you can pass them on to your kids.

Remember courts look at an agreement as a contract and will uphold the contract even if it may not be totally equal. The court will not generally reinvent your agreement to save it. Both parties must make a full disclosure of financial assets. A few states frown upon these type of agreements even if written to conform to the laws of the state where you were living when written. Even then it is better to have an agreement because even those courts may well find your agreement valid and fair.

You should both have the agreement reviewed by an attorney. It insures that each of you understands the contract you are entering into and the court is more likely to enforce an agreement where both parties had legal representation.

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