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Prenuptial agreements, once associated primarily with the rich and famous, have gained in popularity with couples of modest means as well as those who have considerable assets.

Some people are afraid that a prenup speaks to the end of a marriage that has not yet begun. However, many couples realize that signing this kind of agreement is a smart way to plan for their shared future.

Assets and liabilities 

A prenuptial agreement defines each person’s separate assets and liabilities going into marriage. It makes financial rights and obligations clear and provides protection from debts. The prenup is a legally binding contract designed to protect the parties, not serve as a harbinger of gloom. If used in court, a judge looks it over carefully to be sure neither party was coerced into signing the agreement.

Relying on experience

Experience counts. For example, an attorney who focuses on criminal law would not be the best person to draw up an effective prenuptial agreement. Consider the new tax law that becomes effective on January 1, 2019. This law would play a role if a divorce were to occur at some point; one party would pay alimony or spousal support to the other. An attorney experienced with family law will know exactly how to include the new law in the prenup.

Careful preparation

In preparing the prenuptial agreement, the future bride and groom should have their own attorneys to guide them in establishing terms and supplying the appropriate information. Keep in mind that the prenuptial agreement will be helpful not only for the couple headed into marriage but also for their heirs.

A prenup becomes an important document if one of the parties should die. It provides direction as to how to distribute the deceased’s property. A couple preparing for marriage should have their prenuptial agreement drawn up and properly executed well before the wedding. They can then walk down the aisle knowing the prenup is there to protect their financial future as a married couple.