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Prenups: focus should be on utility, not misconceptions, acrimony

Of all the forms, documents and various contracts that feature in family law in Georgia and across the country, perhaps no legal instrument is less understood and more vilified than the marital contract.

That agreement encompasses what are essentially twin siblings, namely, prenuptial (before marriage) and postnuptial (following marriage) agreements, respectively.

The focus in our post today is on the former, which is often a standard inclusion on the front pages of tabloid offerings featuring the marital breakups of celebrity couples.

Many people across the country continue to believe that, except for the obscenely wealthy, a prenuptial agreement is, well, not a good idea.

Put another way: Mentioning the topic prior to marriage is akin to dropping a bucket of ice water on a glowing candle.

In short, many marrying couples continue to view prenups with distaste, even animosity.

And, interestingly, many family law attorneys and marriage counselors, as well as legions of financial planners, regard them in a quite different vein, as noted in an online overview of prenuptial agreements that recently featured in a national media story.

In fact, one investment adviser quoted in that story states that he’s “not sure there is an instance where a prenup would be a bad thing.”

That viewpoint -- that is, the idea that prenups command potentially strong utility for most marriages -- has gained considerable traction in recent years, commensurate with educational information being more openly disseminated that objectively sets forth what a prenup seeks to do.

At bottom, focus on a prenuptial agreement encourages early and frank discussion of partners on topics that will be important during marriage, and then engages them in planning for the future in a proactive and meaningful way.

And prenups are more than just about money. A premarital contract can address and draft provisions relating to myriad and widely varied matters of marital importance.

An individual or couple having specific questions or simply seeking general information regarding prenuptial agreements can obtain relevant information from an experienced family law attorney who routinely drafts and provides guidance concerning such documents.

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