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Why to execute a prenuptial agreement before your wedding

The New Year is here, and many couples in Leesburg that got engaged in 2017 are finalizing their plans for their 2018 wedding. Whether they plan on marrying on Valentine's Day in February, or whether they are planning for an autumn wedding this year, it is never too late for them to think about their financial futures, both as a married couple and as individuals. While no couple in love can anticipate divorcing, the fact of the matter is that divorce does happen.

A divorce can significantly affect a person's finances. Property will need to be divided between the spouses, as will debts. Also, one spouse may be obligated to pay alimony to the other spouse. Therefore, couples getting ready to walk down the aisle may want to give some thought to the fact that they should each be protected financially should their marriage not last. One way to obtain this protection is by executing a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married.

In essence, a prenup is a legally enforceable contract that addresses a couple's assets, debts and other financial issues both while married and in the event of divorce. When a couple executes a prenup, it can actually be a positive experience. This is because it opens up the dialog about finances in the marriage that can set the stage for positive communication in the future. A prenup can not only address financial matters, but it can also be used as a tool to protect inheritances, especially if one spouse has children from a previous relationship. Also, a prenup can protect a spouse's separate assets in the event of divorce, which could be especially important if a person owns a business or other major asset. Conversely, a prenup can also address how debts will be divided in the event of a divorce.

In the end, having a prenup in place is simply pragmatic. Even if a couple never divorces, it allows a couple to address the issue of finances before marrying, so they have a common understanding that will serve them well into the future. Moreover, should they be one of the almost 50 percent of couples to divorce, a prenup will make the divorce process easier. Therefore, while it may not be the most romantic thing to do, it may be very worthwhile for engaged couples to execute a prenup before saying, "I do."

Source: the spruce, "Prenuptial Marriage Agreements," Sheri Stritof, accessed Dec. 28, 2018

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