No one should get married without a Prenuptial Agreement in place! It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, you always have to protect yourself! You are making the biggest decision of your life to marry someone.

And second and sometimes third marriagesand the extended families that sometimes come with themrequire financial and estate planning. Forty percent of new marriages include at least one spouse who was previously married. A Prenuptial agreement is especially a necessity when getting married after the first time.

There are two key issues every Prenup should address:

The first is how the assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or a death. The time to address this is before you get married. Divorce rates for second marriages, third marriages, etc. are even higher than those for first marriages. While you hope this marriage will work, you just never know. You should have at least three to six months before the wedding to work out the details and have the Prenup finalized.

The second is deciding how your personal accounts and other assets, such as real estate will be kept separate after marriage. It’s crucial that you keep them separate.

Typically a Prenup will spell out what each partner is bringing to the marriageincluding income, real estate, retirement savings—and whether each asset will be treated as separate or joint. Most important is that a prenup can shield one partner from any liabilities accumulated prior to the marriage, including student loans, credit card debt, and alimony and/or child support. It is very important that how to treat debt should be decided prior to the marriage and in the Prenup. In the event of a divorce, sometimes courts try to divide debt equally between the two parties. You have to be sure to protect yourself.

Any gifts given during the marriage should not be considered marital assets but should belong to the person receiving the gift.

More than one-third of adults said Prenups make smart financial sense, according to a Harris survey. “The time to plan for a divorce is not when you’re in a state of hate,” says Suzie Orman. You can’t fully protect yourself against a marital heartbreak, but at least you can protect your assets.

Be sure to have a divorce attorney write the Prenup. Just any attorney cannot know the specifics that have to go in one. It has to be done right so there are no loopholes. Unfortunately, in today’s world, Prenups are being challenged in court.



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