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Do you need a prenuptial agreement? The answer may surprise you

Many people who marry in Cobb County never think about entering into a prenuptial agreement. It never even crosses their minds. This is because a lot of people mistakenly assume that prenups are only for the rich and famous. However, prenuptial agreements can be very helpful for people of more ordinary means as well.

Prenuptial agreements allow individuals to protect their children, their real estate, their family or personal businesses, and potential inheritances, among other things. A prenuptial agreement is a necessity for anyone who wishes to pre-determine the division of property and assets should the marriage come to an end.

While many couples view prenuptial agreements as unromantic - as all legal contracts are - discussing assets and debts prior to marriage can be a very important step in building a strong partnership.

For example, financial planners often suggest that couples discuss their debts and assets and decide on a budget before marrying. Couples also need to decide how they will plan for retirement, whether they will combine finances and whether they will help each other pay down debts - and how to best prioritize all of these things.

A prenuptial agreement can be another piece of the puzzle that helps individuals understand where their partners stand when it comes to financial goals, priorities and ownership.

Those who do decide to enter into prenuptial agreements should seek legal counsel before signing on the dotted line. It is important to work with an attorney to ensure that the document protects your rights, and that the contract will be legally enforceable. Those who are already married and wish that they had the forethought to get a prenup should know that Georgia law also allows for postnuptial agreements. Postnups, as prenups and any other contract, should only be entered into under legal guidance.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Financial Issues to Discuss Before You Get Married," Daniel Lippman, Sept. 29, 2013

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