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Why you need a prenup even if you're not wealthy

Prenuptial agreements are more common than they used to be. However, many people think that if they aren't going into a marriage with millions of dollars in assets, there's no need to spend the time or money to get one or to risk the conflict that proposing a prenup to their soon-to-be-spouse could cause. However, there are a number of circumstances that warrant putting a prenup in place to protect both people.

That's particularly important in a community property state like Louisiana where anything that either one of you purchases during the marriage is split in half in a divorce in the absence of a prenup.

  1. Either or both of you owns a business. Without a prenup that states otherwise, you could be required to split the value of your business with your spouse even if he or she has no ownership of it and has taken no part of it.
  2. One or both of you has a significant amount of debt. In community property states, not only assets are divided in half during a divorce. So is debt. If you don't want to be stuck paying off your wife's student loans or your husband's car loan on his Porsche, a prenup is wise.
  3. You have children from a previous marriage or relationship. A prenup can help ensure that your children will get the assets and property that you want them to have without having to share or potentially fight for it with your spouse if you should pass away.
  4. One of you plans to be a stay-at-home parent or continue their education. Many times, one spouse goes on to get an advanced degree while the other supports the couple. The spouse with the advanced degree may end up making considerably more money than the other. Further, if one spouse leaves the workforce to care for children, he or she may be at a significant financial disadvantage should the couple break up. A prenup can help ensure financial stability for both spouses after a divorce.

If you are getting married, it's wise to at least consider what the financial impact of a divorce would be, even if the possibility of ever breaking up seems unthinkable. An experienced Louisiana family law attorney can provide advice and guidance.

Source: Wise Bread, "6 Reasons Average People Should Consider a Prenup," Emily Guy Birken, accessed Aug. 29, 2017

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