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Prenup myths and the truth about pre-marriage agreements

Couples planning to walk down the aisle in Minnesota often have visions of spending a lifetime together. Unfortunately, this isn't always the reality with marriages today, which is why it can be a smart idea for two people planning to legally wed to consider a prenuptial agreement beforehand. Yet some couples avoid discussing a prenup because of lingering misconceptions, such as the belief that such a document is only necessary if one spouse has significant wealth they want to protect. In reality, a prenup can cover all types of marital assets, so disputes can be avoided later.

While prenups can include things like stipulations for future alimony payments and debt obligations, agreements with one-sided or unreasonable provisions may not be considered by the court in the event of a divorce. Additionally, many couples are unaware of the fact that prenups can cover more than who gets what if a marriage ends. Such documents can also establish the basics of an estate plan. Also, a generous higher-earning spouse can give their former partner more than what was stipulated in the agreement without nullifying its terms.

As for the myth that prenups increase the odds of divorce, nearly 90 percent of mental health professionals surveyed by a relationship website said this isn't the case. It's also not advisable for a soon-to-be-spouse to wait until the eleventh hour to present a prenup to their partner. If such an agreement was signed just days or hours before a wedding, it may be possible for one party to argue that it was signed under duress.

Some couples are under the assumption that prenuptial agreements can be handled without assistance from an attorney. However, many states require both parties to have legal representation. So, going sans-attorney may increase the risk of having a prenup invalidated by the court. A lawyer might also ensure that a signer's best interests are kept in mind. Post-nups can be created after vows are exchanged, but negotiations are often more complicated since assets gained between when the "I dos" were exchanged and when the agreement is signed would be considered marital property.

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