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Have no fear: prenuptial agreements are meant to help couples

It may not be the most romantic topic as we wave goodbye to Valentine's Day, but today let's discuss the merits of prenuptial agreements. Many people dread the phrase, but the reality is that a prenuptial agreement provides the legal means for a married couple to designate which assets go where when the marriage ends.

That's not to say that every marriage will end in a divorce - but every marriage will eventually end. "All marriages terminate, whether it is in divorce or death," said one estate planner in the article. "Signing a prenuptial agreement is assurance your assets go where you want them to."

While prenuptial agreements are not for every couple, there are many situations where the contract can greatly benefit both parties in a marriage. Say your significant other has kids from a previous marriage. A prenuptial agreement can assure that he or she has a guarantee their children will be protected. This can be even more important when you and your partner have kids of your own.

Another scenario involves younger couples which are expecting a large inheritance or have some significant form of assets that they want protected. This doesn't necessarily mean that one party in the marriage makes more than the other - just that there could be future interests that need to be incorporated into the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can sort out where those assets go, or if they stay with the original recipient.

With such a delicate issue like a prenuptial agreement, it is best to discuss things with your significant other. Bringing in a family law attorney will also help the two of you reach a middle ground on how to divvy assets and give you an experienced professional who can answer your questions about the merits of a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Reuters, "When Valentines and prenups go together," Kathleen Kingsbury, Feb. 15, 2012

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