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Prenuptial agreements. They’re things a lot of people have only heard joked about on comedy television shows or brought up in celebrity gossip magazines. Unfortunately, learning about these important legal documents through these channels may not give you the right impression about their purpose. You might think that only high-asset couples sign them or that only couples who have rocky relationships should get them.

It’s these and other myths that we want to dispel in this week’s blog post. By explaining what a prenuptial agreement is and how it can help you in the event of a divorce, we hope to give our readers a better idea of what this document does and if it is something our readers should consider for their own situation.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two parties prior to marriage that outlines marital conduct that could be grounds for divorce and how assets are to be divided in the event that a marriage is terminated.

Although it’s common for celebrities to sign prenuptial agreements, wealthy people are not the only ones who can draft and sign these legal documents. In fact, any couple who has assets or liabilities prior to marriage may consider signing a prenuptial agreement, even if they have the upmost confidence in the marriage.

So why sign a prenuptial agreement then?

For many couples, prenuptial agreements act sort of like insurance policies. While their hope is to never use the document, people are often glad they have them because they can help considerably with property division in the event of a divorce. Because prenuptial agreements are usually drafted when couples are happy and tensions are low, coming to agreements about property division can be easier than waiting until the onset of a divorce when emotions tend to run higher and contentions arise.

Prenuptial agreements, while incredibly helpful, aren’t for everyone and should only be drafted and signed after careful consideration. Couples may also want to talk to a knowledgeable lawyer before signing one to make sure that all aspects of the document follow state laws and that it has each spouse’s best interest in mind.

Source: The American Bar Association, “Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements,” Robert J. Nachshin, October/November 2001, Accessed Sept. 5, 2014

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