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Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common

Most Minnesotans are familiar with the concept of a prenuptial agreement. These legal documents are signed before a couple gets married; they determine many important factors that will come into play if the couple decides to get a divorce. The division of property, business ownership rights, alimony: Your prenuptial agreement acts as a blueprint for a possible divorce. This means that if your marriage does come to an end, each spouse knows exactly what they will receive in the settlement. Prenuptial agreements can also speed up the divorce process, as the important determinations will have already been made.

Many people feel that prenuptial agreements are a tool only for the wealthy, particularly those who wish to protect their assets from spouse they marry later in life. The truth is, however, prenuptial agreements are useful to people in all demographics.

That is because prenuptial agreements do not necessarily need to protect vast fortunes. Many people use them to protect single assets that are important to them, such as real estate that has been in the family for a long time or funds that they intend to use to support children from another relationship. In these cases, prenuptial agreements can ensure that your assets remain with you.

Prenuptial agreements are also common among those entering their second marriage. The divorce process can be difficult and time consuming; it should be no surprise that many divorced people use prenuptial agreements to avoid those difficulties in the future.

The use of prenuptial agreements is spreading in Minnesota and across the country. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 63 percent of divorce attorneys have reported an increase in prenuptial agreements they have assisted with in the past three years. Women are apparently a factor in this growth, with 43 percent of attorneys noting that they have seen an increase in the number of prenuptial agreements initiated by women.

Source: Investment News, "Client's got stars in his eyes? Insist on a prenup" Liz Skinner, Feb. 13, 2014

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