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7 reasons to execute a prenuptial agreement

Although it's common to have a prenuptial agreement when one partner's net worth far exceeds the other's, a prenup can help every couple. Developing a draft of the document to take to your attorneys fosters necessary conversation on a sticky topic for couples - finances.

According to a Money magazine survey, 70 percent of couples argue about money after marriage. Although a prenup may seem unromantic, all those finance arguments are far from romantic, too. A prenup provides a discussion and decision-making tool that can head off some of the common arguments. That's far from the only reason to have a prenuptial agreement though.

Marry for love. You can better ensure that your future spouse marries you for love, not money, by including wealth and asset protections. This inclusion protects both the wealthier and the poorer partner. It simply sets limitations to a divorce settlement.

Decide future alimony and child support. If you need to divorce down the road, this emotional, time-consuming topic has already been decided. Alimony provides a fair post-marriage income to the party who perhaps gave up their career or switched to part-time work, in order to rear the children, for instance.

Make property division easier. This includes mutually purchased property, inherited properties, properties purchased before marriage and family heirlooms.

Avoid a long, messy divorce. A prenup saves you money if your marriage dissolves. Divorces can take years because of the tough decisions made at an emotional time. The longer the divorces stretches, the more expensive it gets. Money, child custody and visitation rights top the list of decisions that cause divorce proceedings to drag on for years.

Debt protection. One party may enter the marriage with massive student loans while the other may rack up credit card debt while underemployed or unemployed. Alternately, the debts may incur during marriage from poor investments, gambling, etc. Protect each other from unfair debt.

Business protection. If you marry young and build a business together, you'd expect an equitable division of ownership, but what if you owned a successful business upon marrying? Including business distribution in the prenup protects your entrepreneurial investment.

Protect your family. As second and third marriages become more common, the spouse and/or children from prior marriages can fear for their inheritance. Including protections for all family members helps alleviate tension while providing legal protection.

Talk first. Outline what you want. Contact Maryland attorney Dwight W. Clark. We can work on your behalf to protect your best interests, ensure that your prenup passes muster in court, and help ensure that a fair agreement is reached.

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