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Prenuptial agreements provide insurance for the unknown

Prenuptial agreements are advantageous for a number of reasons. One key purpose, however, is to help people protect the individual assets that they bring into a marriage. When one spouse has considerably more assets than the other -- and/or a much larger income -- a prenup helps that spouse avoid having to give up a significant portion of his or her net worth in a divorce.

The less-wealthy spouse can benefit as well. For example, spouses who elect to stay home and raise the kids can ensure that they get a fair divorce settlement that will allow them to live comfortably until they can build their job skills and get back in the workforce.

Who knows? While you're being a stay-at-home mom or dad, you might invent a parenting app that you sell for millions of dollars or start a line of baby products that makes you the next Jessica Alba. Fortunes change. Both partners should protect their financial future going into the marriage, because you never know what the future will bring.

Even if there's neither of you has a lot of money or your individual worth isn't significantly different from that of your intended, there are good reasons to have a prenup. For example, if either of you already has children from a previous relationship or marriage (or both of you do), a prenup can help you protect them in the case of your death.

Under New York law, for example, a widow or widower is entitled to half of the deceased spouse's estate. Even if the will leaves everything to the kids, the surviving spouse can challenge it and get that half. With a prenup, spouses can agree to waive the right to all or part of that inheritance, perhaps in exchange for something else.

It's always best for both people signing a prenup to have their own attorney, even if one attorney draws up the agreement and the other reviews it. This helps ensure that both people's interests are protected and that the agreement won't be invalidated if it's ever challenged.

Source: GoBankingRates, "9 Financial Reasons You Need a Prenup," Teo Spengler, accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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