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Family Law: Why prenuptial agreements are important

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common for the average American. Once thought to be only for the wealthy, prenups are now common in family law courts all across the country, including Connecticut. There are many benefits to having a prenup, and the rich and famous aren't the only ones with interests to protect.

Most people know that if one person has much more money going into the marriage than the other that a prenuptial agreement is usually recommended. Not only does it protect that individual, but it also can establish spousal support in the future for the other partner while the couple is on good terms. This could possibly result in a more promising outcome for that spouse should a divorce occur. In addition to dividing up assets, a prenup can also establish who will be responsible for debt. If one spouse has debt going into the marriage, a prenup can prevent the other spouse from getting stuck paying for those debts if the couple splits.

Sometimes, the assets that need to be protected aren't even yet obtained. For example, retirement accounts and other investments may not have much value at the time of the marriage, but they may have a much higher value in the future, and that future value should be protected. Another example of this is a business one spouse owns. In Connecticut divorces, these assets are also often divided unless that ownership interest has been protected in a prenuptial agreement.

Couples planning to have a family should also sign a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can establish terms for child support, spousal support for stay-at-home-parents and even custody of family pets. Having a family completely changes the dynamic of the household, so it is imperative that these terms be discussed in advance.

The most important thing is that both future spouses work together to write a prenuptial agreement that they both can be happy with. It should be written with careful consideration well in advance of the wedding day. A knowledgeable family law attorney can guide the couple through the process to keep the experience clear and harmonious.  A prenup should not be viewed as a plan for failure but as a pact that is entered into out of love and mutual respect.

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