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Discussing a prenup can help you both plan your financial future

As of late, the word prenup has gotten a bad image attached to it and often times when people hear it, they instantly picture big named celebrities and their headline-generating divorces. However, any couple who brings personal or business assets to a marriage can benefit from a prenup. It will provide you and your fiance with peace of mind for your financial future.


Do

Do keep your emotions at bay

Remember this is the romantic side to a financial discussion. If you seek a marriage that is a true partnership, it is wise to get a prenup to protect yourself financially. Your marriage and love for one another might be as strong as possible, in which case you will never have to use your prenup, but having it as a security is important.

Do be open to the conversation and be transparent

This is a great opener for talking about how you’re going to be handling your financial relationship. History will tell you that marriage traditionally was created to protect wealth. It can be a romantic discussion - you’re talking about how you’re going to live together moving forward.

Do tailor the agreement to your lifestyle, relationship, etc.

You don’t need to follow any handbooks because your situation is going to be different than anyone elses. Bring your attorney in and be open and honest with them. Your lawyer will help you draw up an agreement that you both can understand and live with should the relationship end.

Do understand the consequences of not having a prenuptial agreement

Would you be satisfied with your state’s laws regarding your assets if you were in fact to split? Make sure you fully understand the laws in your state so you know where you both stand if you don’t sign one.

Do know the importance of a prenup if it isn’t your first marriage

Prenups are especially important for couples entering into a marriage for the second (or third) time. Those who have already endured a divorce are particularly sensitive to how trying the process can be, and they do not want to relive that. Additionally, many of these couples come to the table with children from their first marriages that they want to protect if the marriage ends.


Don't

Do not think of a prenup as a contract to avoid turmoil

A prenup is a discussion between two people about the life they want to have financially moving forward, not a contract to avoid turmoil. Also, be sure that in the discussion about your future, you and your spouse discuss children and whether or not you both agree on having them. Adding children to your life can be a blessing, but you do not want to wait until you’re married to have that conversation. I see many couples split up because of their different views on the topic of having kids.

Do not enter into a prenup without provisions for dissolution

Make sure to plan out exactly who gets what if the marriage ends. Setting up ground rules beforehand will allow you and your fiance to do so with a clear mind, instead of battling it out in divorce court when emotions are high and your intentions might not be the best.

Do not enter into a prenup because a remote family member insists upon it

This is often why people come to me for prenups. You should only choose to sign a prenup because it is what you and your spouse both agree is in your best interest, not because a family member insists. At the end of the day, neither your aunt or uncle are the ones getting married.

Do not allow your history to come into your new marriage

You already married and divorced your first relationship. Don’t allow those feelings and sentiments to ruin, or carry over, to your current relationship.

Do not begin discussion of a prenup a month before the wedding

Give yourself plenty of time to come up with an agreement that you are both comfortable with. You should begin the conversation no less than 6 months before your wedding to ensure that all the financial wishes and estate planning are taken care of with ample time.


Summary
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Most beginnings are ruined by worrying about the endings, a prenup gives you the opportunity to discuss the endings at the beginning. Being knowledgeable of prenuptial agreement is necessary to help you and your fiance fulfill your financial aspirations and be proactive in planning your family’s financial future. Remember that signing a prenup comes from a place of love and respect from your fiance, and is not due to a lack of trust. Always be clear on your financial desires before tying the knot.


More expert advice about Finance for Couples

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Brenda B. ShapiroManaging Partner

Brenda B. Shapiro is a Family Law attorney and litigator. She provides legal counsel to clients on family law matters, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, child custody, access and time sharing, post-dissolution, domestic v...

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