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Myths and misconceptions about prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements can make divorce less stressful and more efficient, but there are a number of misconceptions about prenups that make New Jersey couples less likely to have them. People often believe that prenups are only useful where one or both spouses are wealthy, that executing a prenup makes divorce more likely or that they are only useful in the event of divorce.

Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements might be useful in many situations where neither spouse is particularly wealthy. They are designed to handle any and all marital assets, which might include money or real property as well as pets or future spousal support payments. A prenup might also address distribution of assets to children or division of debts among spouses.

Prenuptial agreements do not make divorce more likely. In fact, in a poll of mental health professionals, 86 percent said prenups have no predictable impact on the longevity of a marriage. These agreements may also be useful in situations other than divorce. A prenup can establish the groundwork for a comprehensive estate plan or help the couple develop financial expectations for the future.

They are also more flexible than many people believe. In a case where one spouse has more assets or money than the other, the parties may not be wholly bound by the terms of the prenup in divorce. The spouse who has more money is free to give more to the other spouse, for example.

Couples who have prenups and who are considering divorce may want to schedule a meeting with an attorney. An attorney with experience in divorce law might be able to help by reviewing the specifics of the agreement and arguing for or against its validity depending on the position of the client. An attorney might be helpful during property division negotiations or argue on the client's behalf during family court proceedings.

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