Prenuptial Agreements are a useful financial and estate planning tool. They give couples the opportunity to plan their family’s financial futures.

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What is a Prenuptial Agreement and Why Get One?

A prenuptial agreement allows you to tailor a plan that meets your individual needs. A mediator or collaborative attorney can guide the communication, offering you an opportunity to voice your concerns and have your issues addressed. With the right guidance, a prenuptial agreement can be crafted in a way that is fair to both parties.

An example in which a prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool is second marriages, where one or both of the parties has children from a previous marriage. In this case, a prenuptial agreement can help clarify what rights the new spouse will have and what rights the children will have in the event of divorce or death. This is important because getting married automatically provides a spouse with certain rights that cannot be waived without written agreement.

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Other examples include (1) one spouse is involved in a family business and the parties want to ensure that they are both clear about what would happen to the business in the event of divorce or death, (2) one spouse is moving and giving up career opportunities for the other and they want to make sure they are clear about what is being sacrificed and how that person will be provided for in the event of death or divorce, (3) the spouses have different tolerance for investment or risk and want to maintain separate financial arrangements to allow them each to save or invest as they feel is appropriate. When viewed as a planning tool, a prenuptial agreement is no longer a mechanism for unfairly taking away someone’s rights. Rather, is allows for a discussion about a couple’s financial future when there is a clean slate. A mediator can help facilitate these discussions, allowing the couple to get married with plans in place that they have worked out together, rather than against each other.