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The pros and cons of getting a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements began as a way for women to have some sort of financial protection if their husband died or left in an era when they had no legal right to own property.

Now they are an increasingly common way for men and women to protect their assets in case of divorce, particularly if one person enters a marriage with significantly more than the other or if they are going into a second or subsequent marriage.

Every couple's situation is different, but there are always pros and cons to consider before deciding to get a prenup. Following are some of each:

Pros

  • It opens the door for a discussion of finances that every couple who's planning on getting married should have.
  • It lets couples detail what property and assets (personal and business) each owns separately and what will be considered marital property.
  • It helps people protect assets that they have or will inherit.
  • It allows people to offer financial protection to children they already have or other family members if they pass away.
  • A prenup can save time, money and conflict if a marriage ends in divorce.

Cons

  • It can cause friction and trust issues between a couple, particularly if one person isn't on board with the idea.
  • It can get people thinking about the possibility of divorce before they've even gotten married.
  • Prenups aren't guaranteed to stand up in court. They can be deemed invalid if one or both parties failed to fully and accurately disclose their financial situation, if one party is determined not to have signed the prenup with complete knowledge of it or if one party has been coerced into signing it.

Of course, a prenup needs to created properly. Both parties should have their own attorneys to protect their individual interests and both should fully understand the terms of the agreement.

They also need to know how to prevent commingling of individual and marital assets that could destroy the asset protections they've sought to codify. Further, it's always wise to make sure that you have an estate plan that supports the provisions of your prenup.

A New York family law attorney can discuss the pros and cons of a prenup given your individual situation and concerns.

Source: The Spruce, "Prenuptial Marriage Agreements Should you create a prenup prior to getting married?," Sheri Stritof, accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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