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5 things everyone should know about a prenup

Thinking of using a prenup when you get married? Maybe you have far more financial assets than your future spouse. If you get divorced, you worry about losing that money. You want the prenup to protect you.

This is wise, especially in situations with a serious wealth imbalance. Some couples let their emotions get in the way, but it's best to think carefully and logically about your rights, your assets and how to secure your own future. With that in mind, here are five things you should know:

1. The prenup basically handles divorce in advance.

When you get divorced, you have to decide how to split up your assets. Some couples do it peacefully, but many end up in court, fighting over those assets. A prenup is just a way to agree on how to divide things in advance.

2. You must disclose everything you own.

You cannot hide assets or neglect to tell your partner about anything you own while creating a prenup. This works both ways; they have to disclose all of their own assets and debts. You both deserve to know exactly what you're agreeing to in the prenup before you sign it.

3. You need to bring it up well in advance.

Don't put off telling your spouse that you want a prenup. If you bring it up right before the wedding, it may get overturned should you ever head to court and attempt to use it. Your spouse can argue that they did not have time to consider it properly or that they felt overly rushed. The best move is to talk about the prenup months before the wedding, as soon as you get engaged.

4. You can't get someone to sign under duress.

If either party is under duress when signing the prenup, that's another reason it may not stand. For instance, maybe your future spouse actually asked for the prenup. You didn't want to sign, but they threatened you or manipulated you into signing it against your will.

5. The general goal is to keep each person's money in their own name.

Prenups mostly address financial decisions, and the main goal is to make sure that both you and your spouse keep your own money if you get divorced. This includes money that you earned before the marriage and the money you earn as a married couple.

Your options

If you are thinking about a prenup, make sure you understand exactly what options you have. If you are getting divorced with a prenup already in place, be sure you know if it will stand and what it means for the asset division process.

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