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The basics of a prenuptial agreement

For many years, most people though that prenups were only for the very wealthy. We heard about how the rich would protect their assets before tying the knot and how a spouse would be limited in what he or she would receive in a high asset divorce because of a prenuptial agreement.

Now, though, many couples of ordinary means are using prenups in an effort to protect the assets they have for children from another relationship, avoid long, expensive disputes during a divorce and avoid assuming the other spouse's debt. They can also help clarify financial responsibilities and rights during a marriage.

If there is no prenuptial agreement in place, then the laws of the state where you file for divorce will determine how your assets are divided. You will also be responsible for a fair share of your spouse's debts. Your children may not receive the assets you wanted them to have upon your death, either.

A valid prenuptial agreement is fair and justifiable. The details of it are clear and it must meet the state's requirements. Should the court determine that the prenup is not fair or that there are specific points that are not allowed in a prenup, such as how much child support would be, the court could end up invalidating the document.

If you are considering whether to create a prenup, it is best to talk about it at length with your soon-to-be spouse. No matter how much you trust him or her, you should always have your own attorney review the prenup before you sign it.

Source: FindLaw, "Can Prenuptial Agreements Help You?," accessed June 17, 2016

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