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What To Do Before Saying 'I Do': Six Tips For A Prenuptial Agreement

Considering a prenuptial agreement before getting married may seem unromantic, but considering such an agreement can mean that both parties are entering into a marriage with their assets protected. It helps simplify matters, so a couple can just focus on being together rather than the always messy aspects of finances. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, here are some tips regarding your own prenuptial agreement:
1. Consider your starting circumstances.
Rather than just taking into account your relationship at the moment, look at both yours and your future spouses financial situations before you met. This should give you a good grounding of both of your earning potential through the course of a marriage. If you have a joint account, obtain as detailed history of deposits as possible and see who has been responsible for what; this will give you a good idea of what each of you contributes over the course of a relationship, rather than the immediate status quo.
2. Get a lawyer.
This may seem simple, but particularly in difficult economic times, many couples are writing prenuptial agreements between themselves without consulting a lawyer for advice and legal recognition of the agreement. While a piece of paper signed by both parties may be considered during a divorce hearing, it is unlikely to be adhered to absolutely, which does render the exercise somewhat pointless. Legal backing will protect all.
3. Set provisions for divorce.
As well as the basic 'who gets what', consider more complicated matters. For example, if the wife is going to leave work to bring up children, how will she be provided for financially in the event of divorce and for how long will such provision last?
4. If you plan to have children, take them into account.
If both parties are independently wealthy, set something in a prenuptial agreement which decrees the use of funds for any joint children. For example, college and education costs; who pays what in the event of a divorce.
5. Consider past history.
A prenuptial agreement is not just about the two couples; in many cases, issues such as stepchildren must be factored in. If by marrying you are creating a step family, what will happen to that relationship between step parent and child should the marriage break up? Although any visitation rights are not legally binding, it may be worthwhile discussing the issue and inserting a clause into your prenuptial agreement.
6. Be realistic.
Rarely do a married couple earn exactly the same amount of money. If you have some kind of agreement where one party pays the mortgage on a property and the other is responsible for all bills, this agreement needs to be in your prenuptial agreement as an agreed state of play. What happens in the event of divorce, considering one of the union has technically paid nothing toward the house?
A prenuptial agreement needs to be honest, and take into account realistic financial expectations from both parties. Think about things like pay raises, second homes and joint purchases - how will these be distributed in the event of a divorce? It really is best to discuss these challenging issues now, rather than fight for months in a costly divorce battle. The worst may not happened, but it's always ideal to be prepared in case it does.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
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