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Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement?

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If you have made the big decision to get married, you are quickly realizing that there are many decisions that need to be made. Other than the dress, wedding and reception, there is also a key legal decision that you should make with your fiancé – whether or not you need a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two spouses before they are married to say how property will be divided in the event of divorce or death, but can also include other issues of marriage as well. Prenuptial agreements are common in second marriages, especially when there are children from another marriage. Prenuptials are also popular if there is a significant difference in each of the spouse’s financial resources and premarital wealth.

There are many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement. By working out some serious and difficult issues before you are married, you can avoid some major marital problems as well as time consuming, expensive and emotional litigation in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also protect an inheritance to one of your children from another marriage. If you do end up getting divorced, the prenuptial agreement could potentially avoid you needing to go through litigation during your divorce proceedings because most of the difficult, key financial issues are already decided in the prenuptial agreement.

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to having a prenuptial agreement. The chief disadvantage is addressing the issue of a divorce with your fiancé before you are event married. There is also a possibility that the prenuptial agreement will not be upheld in court upon a divorce. Even if the prenuptial agreement is held in court, there’s no guarantee that all of the agreement will be recognized. The best example of a prenuptial agreement portion that may not be upheld in court is child support or child custody arrangements and issues that are addressed in the agreement. These issues are not binding in court because the child’s best interest will be the deciding factors.

There are other grounds for invalidating a prenuptial agreement. The main considerations for invalidation of a prenuptial agreement are:

One of the spouses was pressured into signing the prenuptial agreement and felt they had no choice and no bargaining power.
The prenuptial agreement was not fair or reasonable when it was created or when it is being enforced during a divorce.
The prenuptial agreement is one sided and it would be unfair for a court to uphold it.
One of the parties withheld important financial information from the other spouse at the time of the prenuptial agreement signing, or throughout the marriage.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common in today’s society, primarily due to the high number of divorces that are seen. People are also much more aware of the emotional impact and financial costs of divorce litigation in court. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé, it is best to seek out a lawyer, one for each of you, to help with the agreement.

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