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Prenups - a key to wedded bliss?

Statistics bear out that more people from New Jersey to California are opting for prenuptial agreements, despite former notions that the concept isn't romantic for those who are marrying. However, experts point out that in addition to asset protection, a prenup also offers debt protection in the event of a divorce.

People might also hesitate to spend the money on what they think will be an expensive proposition. However, one study shows that the legal costs associated with a prenup will probably be less than the cost of an engagement ring. Experts also recommend that both parties seek out their own attorney and not try to draft up their own documents. They caution that a judge might not honor a prenup done without legal counsel. However, a legal website can sometimes provide a less-expensive alternative for those who are trying to save money.

The experts also provide general guidelines on what to include in a prenup. Obviously, the couple should include property, retirement, inheritance, insurance and savings accounts. However, they should also include family property, such as jewelry or furniture. They might want to consider the welfare of their pets.

With or without a prenup, the couple needs to sit down and have a serious talk about their finances before the wedding. They should discuss debts, student loans and unsecured credit cards. They will also need to decide how they will handle their money as a married couple. Since financial issues can be one of the main reasons people divorce, a proactive stance could help couples avoid some of the conflicts associated with money.

A prenuptial agreement can help clients down the road if they decide to divorce. A family attorney might help clients establish a prenup in the event of a separation.

Source: CBS News, "Why a prenup may be right for you", Mellody Hobson, May 29, 2013

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