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Prenuptial agreements important before marriage

Like folks in every state, when Minnesotans plan for marriage, they think of lifelong companionship. No one thinks hard about divorce. But as times change and the divorce rate remains high, it is best to consider the possibility and plan for it. Prenuptial agreements can actually be beneficial in the early stages of marriage and provide an incentive for a couple to stay together. And, if the marriage fails, a prenup can help both parties plan for their lives apart.

More people now prefer to marry later in life when they are more financially stable and have more assets. In cases where there is no prenup, one person may lose substantial assets to the ex-spouse if the marriage fails. A prenuptial agreement, however, provides economic security to both parties after divorce or death by stating how assets will be divided.

It is not uncommon now for couples to see a lawyer even before they meet with a wedding planner.

A prenup can include discussion of money management during marriage. It also may help a person keep property that is of sentimental value and contain clauses about how property will be disposed of in case one person dies.

Some couples who reconcile following separation may prefer to draft a postnuptial so that if reconciliation does not work out they have some security in property division. Couples involved in high-asset marriages often prefer prenuptial agreements. The experience of friends or parents also may prompt a person to sign a prenuptial agreement.

Although child-custody issues and child-support payments cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, most financial matters can be, including both parties' income and earning potentials.

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, both parties must fully disclose their assets. If financial information is missing, the agreement may be set aside by a judge.

Source: Fox Business, "Why You Should Consider a Prenup," Andrea Murad, Feb. 4, 2013

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