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Prenuptial Agreements - Should They be a Prerequisite to Marriage?
While not exactly the glamorous side of a marriage proposal, the idea of a prenuptial, or ante nuptial, agreement is something that most people about to be married should discuss. In case a marriage doesn't work or one spouse dies before you have a chance to do a comprehensive estate plan, a prenuptial agreement can safeguard assets, protect one party from the other's debts, and make any possible divorce proceedings go more smoothly without unnecessary rancor.
Some prenuptial agreements can cover day-to-day details such as who will pay the mortgage and other bills or how child care is to be handled. Since more couples are signing prenuptial agreements, you need to discuss this openly with your intended spouse. If you both feel a prenuptial agreement fits your situation, you each need to see a lawyer to discuss it further.
Even though more prenuptial agreements are being signed then ever before, it is something to consider only if one of the following applies to you:
Once you have decided if you need a prenuptial agreement and what should be in it, the question becomes whether or not it will be valid and enforceable. There are certain essentials to creating a valid prenuptial agreement:
The sooner before the wedding date that you prepare the prenuptial agreement the better it will be for both of you and your relationship. Either party broaching this subject is likely to be suspected by the other of lack of trust. However, since more then half of all marriages do end in divorce, having a prenuptial agreement should be considered a very practical thing to do and not a doomsday expression of your marriage's chances. In fact, open communication with your new partner could be the best way to start a new relationship.
If the divorce is being filed under one of the seven fault grounds (including extreme cruelty, adultery, abandonment, substance or alcohol addiction, institutionalization, deviant sexual conduct and incarceration), the 18 month separation period, required for a no-fault divorce, is waived. However, each ground for divorce has its own stipulations.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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