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Prenuptial agreements not romantic, but extremely practical

Of all the family law issues a married couple might face throughout their relationship, property division usually isn’t the most emotional one — at least on its surface. When it comes to divorce, child custody and child support tend to dominate the feelings of spouses. But that doesn’t mean dividing up the material possessions won’t be difficult — especially when pets, which are still typically seen as property in divorce courts, are involved.

If you’re reading this blog as a happily married or engaged person, you might scoff at the suggestion that a potential battle over dining room furniture could be important enough to talk about divorce with your spouse before you need to. Most couples don’t see the need to discuss the possibility of a breakup before they even tie the knot. But as we all know, hindsight is 20/20. Considering the oft-quoted fact that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, wouldn’t it benefit you to acknowledge the mere possibility your marriage will end?

That’s the idea behind a prenuptial agreement. You don’t have to stop loving your spouse-to-be to take a practical approach to avoiding painful conflict with him or her later. In fact, talking to your betrothed about how you would approach property division in the event of a divorce can be a great way to find an even deeper connection. You may not have previously discussed money or property or how you could never live without your dog in the event of a split. As many experienced couples can tell you, discussing these topics when you’re close to each other is much easier than when you’re at each other’s throats.

People who are preparing to marry for a second time may have an easier time grasping the importance of a prenuptial agreement. For them, the issue becomes one of protection. In case the second marriage ends, a spouse with children from a previous marriage will want to ensure that money and property reserved for those children is properly accounted for in a prenup.

Whether you’re approaching your first marriage or your fourth, it pays to talk seriously about how you’ll divide your assets and property just in case the unthinkable happens. A family law attorney can help draft an agreement and ensure no stone is left unturned. Once that important work is done, you and your future husband or wife can celebrate, perhaps with a toast to a long, happy marriage.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Plan your divorce before your wedding day,” Jim Gallagher, Feb. 23, 2014