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When should you definitely consider a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement can be beneficial to just about any couple getting married. Even if you don't have considerable assets or debts, the conversation regarding finances and your plans for the future that a prenup necessitates is worthwhile for two people embarking on a future together.

One New York family law attorney compares it to having car insurance. "You don't plan for an accident to happen, but if it does you are prepared....[and] save a lot of time, money, and stress." While couples going into a marriage with a significantly different amount of assets or debts are likely to consider a prenup (or at least the one of them is), there are other circumstances in which experts say a prenup is a must.

-- If one person plans to stop working: If one spouse stays out of the workforce to raise children or pursue other interests, it can take time to become self-supporting after a divorce. You can protect yourself by designating that the other spouse pay support if the marriage ends.

-- If you already have children with someone else: A prenup can protect their inheritance. This can help prevent nasty family disputes after you're gone.

-- If you anticipate a large inheritance: While an inheritance is generally considered separate property (as it is here in New York) , if you use it to purchase a marital asset like a home, you are comingling your separate and marital assets. In a prenup, you can designate that you alone are entitled to the amount of the inheritance in a divorce.

-- If you own a business: A prenup is essential to prevent your spouse from claiming a portion of the business, whether it's your own start-up or a family business that's been passed down through generations. This can be particularly tricky, because the business has to be valued in a divorce if both spouses seek a share.

-- The two of you manage money differently: When spouses have different attitudes toward spending, saving and debt, serious conflicts can result. A prenup can help protect you in a divorce if your spouse has racked up thousands in credit card bills or loans.

When you and your partner draw up a prenup, it's important for each person to have his or her own attorney at least review it before it's signed. This can help ensure that your interests are protected.

Source: Money & Career CheatSheet, "Marriage: 5 Signs You Need a Prenuptial Agreement," Megan Elliott, accessed Sep. 07, 2016

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