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Pros and cons of prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are a topic many marrying couples choose to ignore. After all, discussing a contractual document does take away from the romance of selecting a ring, a dress, a cake and other exciting details for your pending nuptials.

Ask and you will receive as many opinions about prenuptial agreements as you will about marriage in general. Before saying "I do," it is worth discussing premarital agreements with your fiancé.

Below is a list of some of the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements to help with your initial discussions as a couple:

Pros

  • You can protect the inheritance rights of children or grandchildren from previous marriages.
  • You can retain sole rights to your business or professional practice.
  • You can protect one spouse from assuming the responsibility for the other spouse' debt.
  • You can protect the financial future of a spouse who gives up a lucrative career in the marriage.
  • You can limit the spousal support that one spouse will have to pay in the event of a divorce.
  • You can address any decision-making and responsibility-sharing agreements before the marriage.
  • You can protect your financial interests if you are older or have substantial wealth.

Cons

  • You may give up your right to inherit from your spouse's estate when he or she dies.
  • You may not be entitled to compensation for your contributions to a spouse's business or professional practice.
  • You may start your marriage with a lack of trust after at-length financial discussions.
  • You may not project substantial issues in the future that can stem from compromises you make now.
  • You may limit the amount of support a low- or no-wage-earning spouse will receive in a divorce.
  • You may be "too in love" during this phase of your relationship, which can cloud your judgment when making financial decisions.

To effectively evaluate whether premarital documents are appropriate for your situation, it may be in your best interests to consult with an experienced family law attorney.

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