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Many people get nervous when it comes to prenuptial agreements. They believe it indicates a lack of faith in the relationship. They see it as a sign that the person who is proposing that one be drawn up is already anticipating a divorce. Nothing can be further from the truth. Prenuptial agreements are not about divorce. They are about removing the power of a New York State judge to decide how property will be distributed and disposed of. That is the sole purpose of such a contract, and no other sinister intention should be inferred by anyone who is asked to sign one.
If you are person of considerable means, and this is your first marriage, you should not feel any reticence in asking your intended to sign a prenuptial agreement. It is especially urgent to have such a contract in place if your wealth and assets are bound up with ongoing business concerns. People’s livelihoods depend on the resources you own being employed in a certain way and the businesses you are involved being left intact. None of this should hinge on the state of your love life or mortality. Your divorce or premature death should not lead to the complete overthrow of order in the running of your companies, which is a possibility if you marry without a prenuptial agreement that keeps those assets quite separate from the marital estate.
The fabulously wealthy are not the only ones who can benefit from a prenuptial agreement. You may own a home. If you want to ensure that you remain the sole proprietor of that home no matter how the marriage you are about to enter into turns out, then you should hire a prenuptial lawyer.
Another popular use of prenuptial agreements concerns debt. Very few couples enter marriage without debt. Each individual may have college loans, a car loan, credit card bills and other forms of consumer debt. The two of you will no doubt accumulate more debt as a couple. Getting a prenuptial agreement will make it so that you do not incur any of the debt racked up by your partner before the two of you married. Without such an agreement there is a chance that you will be held responsible for paying down your own debt, the debt accumulated during the marriage, and at least part of the debt with which your partner entered the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are also useful for those who wish to protect precious family heirlooms from being taken away. Jewelry, antique furniture, and other items of considerable value that have been passed down to you will be counted as part of the marital estate unless otherwise stipulated by a prenuptial agreement. You should not assume that precious items of sentimental value will be left alone in the event of a divorce. They will not be. Divorce can cause people to do quite terrible things. It is certainly not something you want to think about now, given that you are not even married yet. But if the marriage does not work out your partner may go after your heirlooms out of spite. That is why it is best to put such objects out of reach from the very beginning.
A competent and highly skilled prenuptial agreement lawyer will put together a contract that will stand up in court. They will be able to help you protect all of your assets, so that you get to decide how they are disposed of in the event of divorce.