Prenuptial Agreements

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Marriage is more than a physical and spiritual bonding. It is also a financial union.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people about to marry. The contract details the possessions, assets, future earnings and control of property for one or both parties. A prenuptial agreement form can be written to address a specific asset or a complete financial portfolio. If you have a financial planner, contact him/her to review your portfolio.

While not the most romantic topic, prenuptial agreements can prevent future stress and anxiety in the event a marriage ends in divorce. If a couple chooses to end their marriage, without a prenupl agreement, the state they reside in may determine how their assets are allocated.

Prenuptial agreements are not for the wealthy only. They are often used to insure that children, from previous relationships, will have their inheritance protected in the event of divorce, separation or death.

Prenup's are also written for individuals entering a second marriage, or those who have established businesses, own property or are anticipating an inheritance. The decision, whether or not to have a prenuptial agreement, should be discussed soon after becoming engaged. Some financial planners recommend discussing the need for a prenuptial agreement before becoming engaged.

If you will be signing a prenup, before your Jewish wedding ceremony, be sure to have your prenuptial agreement form signed well in advance of your wedding date. This will prevent unnecessary pressure and rushed decision making.

Honesty is critical when drawing up a prenuptial agreement. Both parties must disclose all assets. If either party hides something, a judge may invalidate the contract.

Working with an attorney to write up a prenuptial agreement

The bride and the groom should each retain separate and independent counsel.

Before meeting with your attorney, inventory all assets you intend to keep separate. Include income, jewelry, property, and all investments including stocks, bonds and CD's. For investments, have all relevant information including certificate numbers, shares held and date purchased. For property the description should include the lot number.

A prenuptial agreement may also detail how premarital debts will be paid.

Three rules to remember when drawing up a prenuptial agreement

Each person should have their own attorney

Each person is responsible for full and fair disclosure

The process should be completed well in advance of the wedding date

Finally, sample prenuptial agreement forms are available online.

Jewish Wedding Planner, 2007