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How to address prenuptial agreements without the drama

When we read about a couple considering or arguing about a prenuptial agreement, the general impression is that the couple is driven by greed or is planning for their relationship to fail, and that their marriage is in danger before it even begins.

But this picture that is often painted is quite misleading. In many cases, couples do not draw up a prenuptial agreement because they are scared or selfish. They sign a prenup so they can protect themselves and make sure they are prepared to deal with certain financial implications of a divorce. It is a matter of planning, and that is not something that needs to be dramatic.

Unfortunately, news reports on prenuptial agreements fail to make those connections, especially when the people with the prenup are celebrities. Media outlets speculate on what a prenup means and what a couple may have specified in their agreement. Who will get what? Will they both agree to sign it? Why are two people already talking about divorce when they aren't even married yet?

While these questions may sell magazines, they may not be accurate representations of the traditional process of drawing up a prenup. Couples who are not in the tabloids can likely expect a much less dramatic experience. When determining whether to have a prenup or not, couples generally have open discussions about their individual assets and then decide whether those should be protected. There may be questions of how to protect children from a previous marriage or address debts or alimony.

A positive aspect of a couple discussing financial issues and concerns prior to marriage will often lead to fewer misunderstandings about money and expenses during the marriage. This discussion may strengthen the relationship entering into the marriage.

If any of these prove to be an issue for two people getting married, a prenup can be a good way to identify a solution before there is a problem. Signing a prenuptial agreement does not have to be a sensationalistic, dramatic process; but it is still a critical decision that should not be made lightly or without legal representation.

Many couples use either the mediation or collaborative practice to insure that these discussions are undertaken in an open, transparent and positive manner

Source: Liberty Voice, "Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Separating?" Nicole Drawc, April 5, 2014

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