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Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the wealthy: what couples should know about them.

Love comes first.

Then comes…wait, let’s take a step back and talk about prenups, postnups, and other agreements.

While some people believe these agreements are primarily for the wealthy, experts say this is not the case.

“People have realised that the divorce rate is, unfortunately, very high,” said Deveney Wells-Gibson, a San Diego lawyer who also runs The Prenup Queen.

She claims that the divorce rate for first-time marriages is nearly 50%, and that the chances of divorce increase for second, third, and fourth marriages. Divorce is another major cause of bankruptcy.

She believes that people are realising that love and money do not have to be inextricably linked.

For example, one partner may want their business to be theirs and theirs alone, she explained.

“It has nothing to do with whether or not you truly love someone,” she explained.

More on prenups, postnups, and other agreements for lovebirds is provided below.

How do prenuptial and postnuptial agreements work?
Prenuptial agreements are signed prior to marriage by couples that outline what will happen to their money and other assets if they divorce. Postnups are similar agreements that are entered into after the couple has legally married.

These agreements can help reduce animosity in divorces and are also a great way for couples to have difficult conversations before getting married, according to Wells-Gibson.

“It really just gets them on the same page,” she explained to USA TODAY. “It creates some vulnerability because they understand why money is important to one person but not to the other. There could be some financial insecurities, different money mindsets, and so on.”

Some people do not have these discussions before getting married. They have no idea how much debt their partner has, how much money they make, or if they have any inheritances.

When marriage isn’t an option, but people still want to protect themselves and their partners, she says, cohabitation agreements are available.

She has discussed them with non-married couples who want life partners with whom they can acquire joint assets, take out loans, and do other things that married couples do.

According to her, the agreements outline what will happen to these assets and debt if they split.

“They don’t have that marital legal protection of spouses anymore,” she explained.

Are prenuptial agreements only for the wealthy?
When it comes to The Prenup Queen’s clientele, Wells-Gibson says she typically works with people who aren’t “mega wealthy,” but have a home, rentals, inheritances, or businesses that they’d like to keep as their sole property.

Consider stay-at-home mothers. Staying at home entails foregoing a career and working. That means they’re not improving their workforce skills, and if they leave or divorce, they’ll have very little, if any, retirement.

“”It’s literally for anyone who is trying to get into a marriage,” Wells-Gibson explained.

What role does property play in all of this?
According to Karen Anderson Holman, a Virginia-based lawyer, people are often surprised to learn that property that was once theirs can become hybrid property, or property that their partners own a percentage of as well.

“For example, suppose you own your own home and then marry,” she explained. If the property isn’t part of a prenup, “they can walk away with a percentage of the value based on the length of the marriage and the contributions of your spouse to increasing the value of that property – landscaping, remodelling, or whatnot,” if the property isn’t part of a prenup.

What does love have to do with it?

According to Wells-Gibson, bringing up the subject does not imply that one person is already planning to divorce.

“That’s a load of nonsense,” she said. “It opens up a dialogue that some people miss out on before they even get married. It contributes to your partner’s personality.”

Be open, she advised. Be honest about why you’re thinking about getting a prenup or postnup, and understand that there are “very valid reasons” to get one, such as a second marriage or a previous divorce that ended badly.

“There are just a lot of pros and cons to prenups that people seem to overlook,” she explained. “People are fixated on how prenups and postnups are portrayed in the media, and there are so many more benefits to it than just preparing for war,” she explained.

Did someone mention debt?
According to Anderson Holman, prenups and postnups are also beneficial for people whose partners are heavily in debt.

She has also noticed an increase in the number of people requesting them who have had problems in their marriages, whether it’s infidelity, a breach of trust, or simply uncertainty about the marriage’s survival.

“When it comes to money, love is not blind,” she explained. “The debt that your spouse incurs may be yours.”

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