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Importance of prenuptial agreements

If a recent survey performed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is any indication, many Texas residents may decide to seek a prenuptial agreement before getting married. The survey found that 63 percent of the divorce lawyers who responded indicated that they had seen an increase in the number of these agreements over the past three years. However, prenuptial agreements can be a sensitive subject for many people. Before deciding to enter into one, some tips may be useful.

The first thing to remember is to approach the subject with care. Making the suggestion delicately rather than taking a hard line in negotiations can make a big difference. Not every potential marriage requires such an agreement. Couples without separately-owned assets may not find them necessary, as well as those with relatively low income.

However, a prenuptial agreement is not necessarily restricted to higher-income couples. It can be used to discuss what the financial arrangements of a marriage will look like and what each partner expects to get out of the marriage. It can also contain non-financial provisions such as one requiring the couple to seek counseling before seeking a divorce.

A prenuptial agreement can be important to couples who want to protect any assets or an inheritance they may receive. It can also be helpful to couples entering into a second or third marriage and who wish to protect children from an earlier marriage or ensure that the children receive inheritances that would otherwise pass to the surviving spouse. These agreements may provide a positive way for the couple to begin their lives together if each partner approaches the process with an open mind.

Source: Reuters, "YOUR MONEY-Three things to consider before you ask for a pre-nup", Geoff Williams, November 27, 2013

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