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How do you protect yourself from a divorce?

Is there a way to "divorce-proof" your marriage before you get into it?

Not exactly. Divorces happen for all manner of reasons, but they basically come down to one basic factor: One or both members of the couple decides that they're unhappy and wants to move on. There's no way to prevent that from happening if it's going to happen -- but you can put yourself in the best possible position to move forward with ease.

Just follow these three steps:

Discuss a prenuptial agreement with your intended spouse

Prenuptial agreements used to evoke images of Texas oil barons and young second wives. However, that's an outdated way of thinking. These days, prenups are being used by all sorts of people.

Consider this: Would you rather negotiate an exit plan for the marriage with someone who is still in love with you or with someone who no longer has your best interests at heart? Getting a prenup can ensure that you and your spouse are both treated fairly in a divorce.

Maintain at least two separate credit accounts

When you're in love, you naturally want to do everything together -- but one place you need to make an exception is with your credit.

Keeping two credit cards or small loans only in your name can help you build credit that's independent of what you carry with your spouse. If a divorce is in your future, you won't have to struggle to build credit again on your own.

Stay involved when it comes to the family finances

One of the worst mistakes people make after they get married is turning all the financial tasks over to their spouse -- and then not asking any questions.

It's okay if your spouse handles the bills if you don't like doing it. However, you should know where all the bills are, what you owe, what financial holdings you have and anything else important about your finances at all times. If your spouse does the bills, a once-a-month meeting can keep you informed. That way, you won't be clueless about your financial situation when heading into a divorce.

If you need help with a prenuptial agreement, a family law attorney can help you better understand all of your options.

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