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The prenup question: to sign or not to sign?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract related to marriage and divorce that outlines numerous elements to the couple's relationship. The prenup can have specific provisions about who has what responsibility in the marriage. The prenup can outline which property is shared and which remains with each spouse. And, of course, the prenup can detail how a divorce will play out should the couple decide it is time to legally end the marriage.

However, prenuptial agreements have a bad reputation. Many consider them to be the perfect way to ruin your marriage before it even begins. This is merely a stigma attached to prenups, and anyone who approaches the topic rationally and openly could actually strengthen their marriage by ensuring not only their assets and rights, but their spouse's assets and rights, are protected by the prenup. Getting these stressful elements out of the way early could allow the relationship to flourish later.

It is here that another critique of the prenup comes into play: that outlining specifics in a prenup is short-sighted because so much can change over the course of a marriage. This critique is very true, but it also doesn't take into account the fact that couples can draft new documents, like a postnuptial agreement, that address some of these changes that may occur.

So should you sign a prenuptial agreement? It all depends on the individual and the relationship. There's no formula or flow chart that will tell you whether you should sign a prenup or not. But remember this: prenups are important contracts and they offer some significant protections in case of divorce.

Source:, "Should You Get a Prenup?," AJ Smith, Aug. 29, 2014

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