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Why should young couples get prenuptial agreements?

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common among people of all ages and income levels. They're no longer the province of older, wealthy people or even young people with significant inheritances and trust funds. In fact, the increase in prenups among millennials is particularly significant.

So why should young people who marry in their 20s or 30s with relatively few assets get a prenup? The simple answer is that things change. You and your spouse may go into the marriage with relatively similar incomes, assets and debts. A few years later, one of you could be making significantly more money.

Meanwhile, one spouse may decide to take a few years out of the workforce to stay home and raise the children or get an advanced degree. It's better to have a legal document in place before any of this happens that details how assets will be divided than to hammer out a postnuptial agreement later.

Contrary to popular belief, a prenup can actually benefit the spouse with fewer assets than the one with more. Either way, it can help protect both people financially should the marriage end.

While a prenup may not be the most romantic thing to think about as you're planning for your wedding, it's an important safety net. One attorney compares prenups to seat belts. "You don't expect the car to crash, but if it does, you'll be glad that protection is there."

Another advantage of a prenup is that it gets couples talking about their financial goals and their attitudes toward spending and saving. Too few couples have these discussions before they get married, and differing attitudes toward money are a major cause of marital strife as well as break-ups.

When you get a prenup, it's essential to do it correctly. They can be ruled invalid in court when challenged when they're not drawn up correctly or if one person appears to have been coerced into it and didn't have legal representation. Both partners should have an experienced family law attorney involved in the process to look out for their interests. Consider it an investment in your future that you hope you will never have to use.

Source: Refinery29, "What Every 20-Something Woman Should Know About Prenups," Paige Brettingen, accessed March 30, 2017

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