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Deciding if you need a prenuptial agreement

Do you really need a prenuptial agreement? The answer depends a lot on your individual circumstances and mindset, but these are the questions that you need to ask yourself in order to decide:

1. Will it damage your relationship to even discuss one?

There's nothing romantic or sexy about a prenuptial -- which is all about the business of marriage and (potentially) divorce. You and your future spouse both have to be able to think about the financial aspects of your relationship separately from the emotional aspects in order to discuss a prenuptial agreement without damaging your relationship. If you can't, it may be better not to bring it up.

2. Would a prenup really make a difference?

If neither you nor your intended spouse have much in the way of assets, there's probably no point to a prenuptial agreement. Prenups are great ways to protect assets that you already have in the event of a divorce, but the things that you acquire together in your marriage are generally going to be considered marital property. In Nebraska, that means that you'll each get an equitable share of the assets if you divorce. A prenup probably can't protect you any further than state law already does.

On the other hand, if you do have a lot of assets and the division could be complicated -- particularly if you have made significant contributions toward a pension plan or own a business -- a prenup may offer important protections and make a divorce, if it happens, far less costly.

3. Do you already have children?

If you already have children from a prior relationship, a prenuptial may be necessary to protect their inheritance -- and to protect your future spouse in the event that you die. A prenup can often be an essential part of your estate planning tools, making it entirely clear which personal assets are supposed to be preserved for your adult children and which are not.

If you're considering asking for a prenup, you should also consider making an appointment with your family law attorney. He or she can better advise you after discussing the specifics of your situation.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Determine if a Prenuptial Agreement is Right For You," accessed July 19, 2017

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