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The Prenuptial Agreement Dilemma

By Jeffrey Broobin

Should we have a prenuptial agreement?

OK. You can look at the idea as very cold and unromantic. You can look at the idea as a considerate and practical way to decide before the marriage certain issues having to do with your money.

It is interesting to note that the custom of creating prenuptial agreements is not the modern invention that it seems to be. During the 19th century, before the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, prenuptial agreements were necessary for women in the United States. Until the act became law, everything a woman owned or inherited was transferred to her husband. If he died or divorced her, she was just out of luck.

Nowadays it is not so uncommon to execute prenuptial agreements. And these are not just for the famous super-rich couples we read about, where one spouse is much richer than the other. These are couples who want to be upfront about financial issues and get that out of the way before the wedding.

A prenuptial agreement is a signed and notarized contract that describes how a couple will handle the financial aspects of their marriage. The prenuptial agreement has many positive benefits that are not related to divorce, and although it is not very romantic, it has many positive elements.

• If a future spouse won't sign a prenuptial agreement, it may be best to discover this before the wedding.

The financial well-being of children from a previous marriage can be protected

• Personal and business assets accumulated before the marriage are protected by a prenuptial agreement.

• A prenuptial agreement reveals financial expectations before the wedding.

• A prenuptial agreement discloses assets a spouse may want to give to children or other family members in the event of death.

• In the event of a divorce, the prenup eliminates battles over assets and finances.

• Signing a prenup does not mean that a couple is anticipating divorce.

• Prenups address financial matters need to be faced.

• A well-constructed prenuptial agreement can preserve family ties and inheritance.

Despite its many positive features, the prenuptial agreement cannot accomplish everything.

• A prenuptial agreement may be considered unromantic.

• A prenuptial agreement may give the appearance of a lack of trust between the partners.

• It is true that a prenup could create resentment between certain spouses.

• Certain requirements exist so that the prenuptial agreement cannot be declared invalid. These include failure to disclose all assets, evidence of fraud, forcing the agreement upon the other spouse, unfairness, and lack of representation at the time of signing the agreement.

If you are considering having a prenuptial agreement it is important to remember these things:

• Don’t wait until the last minute to talk about financial matters. Discuss the agreement early in the relationship.

• Don’t try to hide your thoughts, feelings, and especially your assets.

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