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Do you need a prenuptial agreement? The answer may surprise you

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Data from the Pew Research Center shows that in 1960, the median age at which U.S. women married was 20 and men, 23. Fast forward to 2014 and those ages rose considerably to 27 for women and 29 for men. Given that more U.S. women and men are delaying marriage, it stands to reason that if and when many Americans do decide to marry, they not only bring more life experiences to a marriage, but also more financial assets.

Enter the prenuptial agreement. No longer just for the super wealthy, today individuals in all economic brackets can benefit from sitting down with a soon-to-be husband or wife and having frank and important discussions related to finances, spending habits and future life goals.

Prior to making the decision of whether or not you need a prenup, it’s important to understand what can and cannot be included in such a legal document. For example, even individuals with no property or sizable assets can benefit from a prenuptial agreement as a prenup can protect an individual from assuming repayment responsibility for a soon-to-be spouse’s credit card or student loan debt. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement can protect one’s rights to a family business or a future inheritance.

While news related to celebrity divorces often reference personal behaviors as being included in a prenup, it’s important to note that only financial matters should be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. Such a document should not be used to discourage or encourage certain behaviors of a spouse and the inclusion of such language may result in a judge invalidating the contract.

Source: Findlaw.com, “What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements,” 2015

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