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Some things to consider with your prenuptial agreement

The good news is you have found the love of your life and the wedding date is set. Happily you both have successful careers with strong earning potential for years to come. Of course it takes a serious chunk of change to live comfortably in the city, but it still seems like there will be enough money that it's a good idea to structure a prenuptial agreement.

Your father is adamant that the money and assets in your inheritance stay with you. After some delay and much fretting, you have gotten through the awkward moment of broaching the subject of a prenup during a lovely dinner at the Gramercy Park Tavern and your fiancé seemed open to the idea.

Now what?

Assemble an accurate tally of all of your major assets. Perhaps there is a family vacation home upstate that has been in your family for generations that you will eventually inherit. Perhaps you already own or have cheap payments on your apartment in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Jersey City, but you plan to move into a new bigger one together in Brooklyn. You may want to keep the old one and rent it out for additional income while the real estate market continues to climb.

Don't open a joint bank account with non marital funds. If this is the case, then those funds could be considered marital in nature. Conversely, don't take money generated during the marriage and put it in your personal account.

You start out with the best of intentions but things start getting a little loose. One of you is more lax with your records, finally pulling it together during tax time. Follow the agreement or risk paying for your negligence further down the line.

Things are pretty even now as far as income, but what if one of you makes a career switch? Perhaps one of your careers skyrockets while the other attempts and eventually fails in a new business venture? Perhaps one of you has a higher tolerance for risk in regards to your stock portfolio and then end up taking a huge hit.

What about that blessed day when you welcome kids into the family? Perhaps one of you wants to stay home at least for a while - this will be a shift in the family financial dynamic. Perhaps you're a traditionalist and will see all the kids into school before going back to work fulltime.

It's also not uncommon to put a sunset clause in a prenuptial agreement of 10, 15, 20 or 25 years. This means that the agreement expires at that time. Keep in mind, however, that the rate of empty nesters getting divorced has about doubled in the last two decades.

Of course, there are countless prenuptial agreement templates floating around the internet, but we all know that you get what you pay for. Your prenuptial agreement should be as unique as the two of you. It's best to work with a family law firm with experience in putting together fair and equitable arrangements. There's no point of starting this partnership off on uneven footing when it's so easy to avoid with just a little bit of foresight.

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Arnel Law Firm

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