Is a prenuptial agreement right for you?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Family Law on Thursday, April 28, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements can actually help strengthen a couple’s relationship. Often, such agreements are not a sign of marital strife but rather proof that soon-to-be spouses have discussed important matters such as their individual finances, debts, and previous marriages in an open and honest fashion.

While almost every couple could benefit from the protections laid forth in a prenuptial agreement, there are certain cases where prenups should be considered especially valuable. These include situations in which a large amount of personal income or the well-being of your children could be seriously jeopardized should the marriage end. While not an indication of a future divorce, forming a prenuptial agreement shows that a couple has considered such risks and has taken the time to protect themselves and their families from the worst-case scenario.

A recent article from the Los Angeles Times lays out a few scenarios in which prenuptial agreements could benefit a marriage. One example is a case where each spouse brings significantly different debts into the union. Without an agreement stating otherwise, a couple’s financial situations will merge, meaning that in the case of a divorce a debt-free partner could be held responsible for the debts of his or her former spouse.

If one or both partners have been involved in a previous marriage, a prenup can also become very important. One spouse may be responsible for child support payments from a previous marriage, and a prenuptial agreement can dictate whether that financial responsibility will be shared in their new union or not. While not as thorough as an estate plan or will a prenup can also provide a guide for asset division in the case of unexpected death.

If you are considering drafting a prenuptial agreement, keep in mind that when done incorrectly, the document can be easily challenged in court. Make sure that your time and effort in creating this agreement is not wasted by hiring a qualified attorney to walk you through the process.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Six situations in which you may need a prenup.” Kathy M. Kristof, 24 April 2011.

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