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Reasons to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements could seem like agreements for two people who don't fully trust each other or who want to be unfair, but that assumption couldn't be further from the truth. A prenuptial agreement protects both parties' best interests, and it can help a divorce move smoothly if one ever arises.

Getting married is part of life for many people. You may have had the best intentions when you did, but if things have turned sour and are heading for a divorce, your prenuptial agreement may help you quickly resolve the conflict of divorce. Your prenuptial agreement is a contract between you and your spouse that describes your individual rights. Before marriage, you loved each other and trusted each other fully, so at that time, you may have been fair in your prenuptial agreement. Knowing this, the contract can now help you be fair in divorce, instead of relying on emotions to make your case.

Prenuptial agreements can be particularly helpful if one partner has more money or greater assets than the other, but that's not the only time it's helpful. If a partner has high debts, indicating who pays them in the prenuptial agreement can be beneficial. Otherwise, you may find yourself splitting debt in the divorce.

If you're already married and want to sign a prenuptial agreement, what you'll look for instead is a postnuptial agreement, which is also known as a marital agreement. This agreement must be signed by both parties, but it's able to be made at any time during your marriage to help spell out the terms of your union.

Source: WealthManagement.com, "Prenuptial Agreements: What to Know Before Tying the Knot," Paulina Mejia, Atlantic Trust, June 08, 2015

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