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How do prenuptial agreements work?

It is often difficult to have a discussion with a future spouse about the possibility of a marriage not working out, especially while a couple is nearing a wedding date. But, many common estimates state that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce in the United States.

With so much on the line, discussing and considering a prenuptial agreement, or "prenup," can be an important discussion and decision to make. When a couple enters into a marriage, a distinction is made between separate and marital property. And, this distinction is used if and when a couple ends up in a divorce down the line, or as a result of death of one spouse.

A prenuptial agreement can help prevent creditors from collecting marital property in the event of the death of one spouse. It may also be used to keep and protect family property, estate plans and property division in the event of a divorce.

It may also be used to form financial responsibilities during a marriage, such as business ventures, retirement and savings accounts, household bills and expenses, investments, credit card spending and payments, as well as settlements of disagreements such as arbitration or mediation.

It cannot be used for personal decisions, such as those relating to child support or child custody, alimony or spousal support, or other personal matters such as chores, child-rearing or relationships with other family members. In fact, Missouri couples who include such provisions in a prenuptial agreement may actually void the entire document.

Source: findlaw.com, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," Accessed on Jan. 5, 2016

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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