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Planning Your Prenuptial Agreements Before the Wedding

If you and the love of your life have decided to officially tie the knot in a legal marriage, there are obviously many different factors that you will have to work through in order to be prepared to make that next step. Marriage is a commitment between two people, and in that union these couples will then share everything together; both the good and the bad. For this reason, many couples will consider prenuptial agreements in order to protect themselves and each other in the event that their "I dos" cannot last for a lifetime after all. When many people hear of the term, they often jump to the big celebrity couples that we see on the television that are going through these horrendous breakups, fighting for rights to millions of dollars. And while prenuptials are a wise choice for the "rich and famous" they are also a good option for the average Joe, as well.

Though the ordinary income person may not have their million dollar estate at stake if there were to be a divorce, prenuptial agreements are still an option that can be used to protect your assets in the event of a divorce in the future. One of the benefits for a prenuptial agreement, essentially a legal contract between two people before their marriage discussing what will happen in the event of a divorce; is that you can be less biased while you are still in love. Couples who choose to do a prenuptial agreement will be able to approach the situation of their possible divorce with a more level head and willingness to be fair to one another. Many times in the heat of a divorce, couples will focus on taking all they can from one another as opposed to working through a reasonable settlement; this process will help with that.

First off, when you are in the early stages of wedding planning, you want to really evaluate what baggage you are bring into the marriage. For example, re you a business owner, do you have a home or other property, a family inheritance, or debt? With the state marriage laws there are going to be assets called "separate" and "martial" properties and it is important to realize that when you two join in marriage, and choose to join bank accounts, those lines can become greyer as to whose is whose.

While a prenuptial agreement will not solve everything, it can help define ownership and liability in the event you and your spouse choose to divorce in the future. Another important factor to consider before you walk down the aisle as a newly wedded couple, is money matters. Do not be afraid to discuss these details before the big day! Many times, financial problems can be the driving force between a difficult marriage, so if you and your spouse are able to communicate up front, not only might it help your marriage, but if you do get a divorce the lines will be more clearly defined.

If you fear that mentioning a prenup to your fiancé will cause tension, consider couples therapy so you can work through these issues. The more communication you have the better and the more effective your marriage will be in the long run! If you are uncertain as to how to bring up the money issue, use taxes as your excuse! Because tax season is just around the corner, you can encourage your fiancé that now is a time to look at each other's financial details and to discuss the plans and implementations for the future.

Next, don't file for your prenup just a few weeks before the big day; this kind of legal document takes some planning ahead. Consider going about this process at least 6 months, if not a year, ahead of the wedding day to make sure that the details are correct and there is time for it to be legally enforced. When establishing your prenuptial contract, make it a point to be reasonable with one another. Remember, you are about to join in marriage with each other; this document is just to act as a protector in the event the marriage is unsuccessful. Try to avoid the consequences of fault such as "if you cheat on me, I keep the house" type issues. Just work on goals that can be enforced by both parties.

If you or someone you know is getting married in the near future and may be interested in a prenuptial agreement, contact the Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC today for more information! We are an experienced and trusted Raleigh divorce attorney's office and we want to help you!

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Attorney Michael Hopper was straight-forward, honest and “spot-on” when handling my Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing. With his guidance and leadership, I was organized, prepared and unintimidated by the process. More than a year after my case was discharged, Mr. Hopper still personally responded to a couple of “quick questions”. I highly recommend Michael Hopper to anyone seeking quality legal representation.
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