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Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements can address assets, debt

When people in Massachusetts think about a prenup or postnup, they may immediately think about celebrities and the messy divorces they experience. In reality, a difficult divorce can happen to a person at any income level. It makes good sense for couples to get prenuptial agreements before saying their vows, or post\-nuptial agreements after I Dos have already been exchanged.

Prenuptial agreements are drafted before people get married, while post-nuptial agreements are created after the wedding. The benefit of these types of agreements is that they allow two individuals to discuss early on how they will handle certain assets and liabilities in the event of a subsequent divorce. Examples of assets that should be addressed are property that one party brings into the marital union, as well as assets that both parties end up acquiring together.

Debt is an especially important topic to include in a postnup or prenup since both wealthy and low-income individuals may have financial obligations. Young people, for example, may get married while having student loan debt, credit card debt and/or child support obligations. Another issue that may be covered is the religious upbringing of the couple's children as well as how to handle holidays in the event that the marriage ends.

Massachusetts couples can have upfront and honest discussions about these issues without necessarily creating prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements. However, the actual agreement adds gravitas and actually provides protection in the event of divorce. The right legal assistance may help people to prepare and execute these documents in a manner that protects their individual interests long term.

Source: businessinsider.com, "Here's why every couple should get a prenup", Emmie Martin and Libby Kane, Nov. 15, 2016

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