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Prenuptial Agreements
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Prenuptial Agreements

Thumbnail image for happily ever after.jpgThis seems to be the year of weddings for me and so many of my friends and family members. I am frequently approached with questions about prenuptial agreements and whether or not to enter in to one. While prenuptial agreements are often associated with the inevitable end of relationships, I try to encourage people to be open minded to the process before they make their ultimate decision for or against the prenuptial agreement. We enter marriages with the intention that they are everlasting, but the unfortunate reality is that there are whole host reasons why many marriages end in divorce.

Prenuptial agreements act as a road map for divorcing couples. They can help to minimize the conflict and issues in an already emotionally exhausting time. Generally, couples enter prenuptial agreements when they are on good terms with each other. That is seldom the case in a divorce. With the majority of the terms of the divorce already determined in a prenuptial agreement, the divorcing couple can focus on the remaining issues, parenting and child support, for example. It is important to be aware that there are some issues that cannot be determined in a prenuptial agreement. Temporary alimony, temporary attorney's fees, parenting time, and child support are all topics that cannot be waived or specifically addressed in prenuptial agreements.

Another benefit, whether the couple signs the prenuptial agreement or not, is that the process promotes open communication between the betrothed about a myriad of difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations. Every engaged couple should be aware of the legal ramifications of their marriage or possible divorce. Couples can lower their risk of divorcing over financial disagreements if they begin their marriage with the same understanding of each other's' financial position, plans, and goals. It is expected that parties to a prenuptial agreement must fully disclose their finances to each other. I would also encourage engaged clients to initiate a discussion about family and find out where the other person stands on having children.

I would advise engaged couples to take the time to meet with attorneys to discuss the legal implications of their upcoming marriage and weigh the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement before making a final decision. It's important to remember that the same attorney cannot represent or provide legal advice to both of the parties.

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