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Practicality makes prenuptial contracts popular

The signing of prenuptial agreements is often associated with the protection of individual assets in case a marriage falters and ends in divorce. Attorneys agree that prenuptial agreements reduce time in court, but add that the agreements serve a larger purpose. Provisions within a prenuptial agreement address how marital assets are divided during a divorce settlement. The measures also may apply if one spouse dies.

With the divorce rate at 40 percent in the United States, more couples are considering prenuptial agreements. Seventy-five percent of American divorce lawyers say they have seen more prenups signed in the last half decade than in the more-distant past.

Couples who enter sign a prenup may add more to an agreement than how to divide property. With prenuptial agreements, critical decisions about property, money and children are settled when couples are more likely to cooperate.

During a divorce action, spousal negotiations frequently suffer from highly emotional choices. Practical or long-term decisions are more difficult during a divorce process, when psychological factors can influence sound judgment.

The existence of a prenup helps separate individual assets from marital ones. It can establish whether spousal support is necessary, for how long and under what conditions. They also help to decide asset distribution issues for children born of previous relationships, a precaution to help families avoid squabbles over an estate. The agreements may even stipulate that an unfaithful spouse forfeits rights to assets.

Divorce attorneys agree that the all-cards-on-the-table experience is a benefit to many couples planning to marry. Proponents say couples who sign them take a realistic approach to what might happen, rather than what will occur.

Source: ksat.com, "Is a prenuptial agreement right for you?" Feb. 8, 2012

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