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Money and Marriage: Prenuptial Agreements are on the Rise

Prenuptial agreements were once the exclusive domain of celebrities and the ultra-rich. Today, however, most financial planners, attorneys and even the AARP recommends them – for an ever growing number of people.

According to a recent survey by the 1600-member AmericanAcademy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), prenups have dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. Why? The growing wish to protect separate property, in this age of multiple marriages, later marriages and high divorce rates. The survey also pointed out that an increasing number of women are requesting prenups to protect their hard-won earnings and assets.

So if you are considering getting married, should you also be thinking about a prenup? Absolutely if you have substantial assets – a home, retirement fund, significant investments or are going into a second or third marriage and have children from previous marriages. If you divorce without one, you may be required to share marital assets (Equitable Distribution) and perhaps pay alimony. A prenup is a legal contract that, for the most part, eliminates you from the requirements of Pennsylvania Divorce Code and creates your own plan, with your intended spouse, for what will happen to your assets should you divorce or die. It’s highly suggested, but not essential, that each party have their own attorney in the prenup process. Full and fair disclosure of assets and liabilities is a condition that is required for the prenup.

Other reasons to consider a prenup include:

–          You are a business owner.

–          You have or may have dependent loved ones who will need care, such as elderly parents.

–          You may be inheriting money or property.

–          You are completing or hold a degree in a potentially high-earning profession such as medicine, law or finance.

There’s no doubt that prenuptial agreements are difficult to discuss with your intended, and often difficult to agree upon as they naturally introduce an element of suspicion or mistrust. This is normal, and it’s important to take your time, be patient, and use experienced attorneys who will help maintain perspective and guide you toward a reasonable agreement that you both will feel good about.

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