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Make your prenup as solid as your relationship: part one

Many people think that only the rich and famous benefit from prenuptial agreements - think Kim Kardashian's short-lived union, for example. While it's true that these agreements are more common in high-asset marriages, any couple can reap the advantages of a little bit of financial planning.

A prenuptial agreement allows you and your future spouse to make sure both of you are taken care in the unpleasant event of a divorce. It also gives you an opportunity to make sure your financial interests are protected no matter what happens to your marriage. However, not every prenup is enforceable and some may be the subject of litigation.

There are several common mistakes to avoid to help ensure your agreement holds up in court. Consider the following tips:

First, it is important to remember that a prenuptial agreement is a formal contract just like any other. It must adhere to the basic principles of contract law. Which means both parties must agree to its terms and observe all of the other formalities associated with a binding legal contract.

With that in mind, just like any contract, you cannot agree to do anything illegal in a prenuptial agreement. If anything in your prenup violates existing law it may be thrown out or modified.

Similarly, a prenuptial agreement is invalid if one party is held "under duress" to sign, meaning that they are coerced or intimidated into acting against their interests by signing. For example, springing a prenup on your spouse-to-be at the altar may be considered putting him or her under duress.

Next week we'll discuss some more tips for creating a sound prenup. If you are considering getting married, it is always wise to have an experienced attorney review your agreement to make sure there are no hidden provisions that could hurt you down the road.

Source: Law and Daily Life, "7 Common Prenup Mistakes to Avoid," Andrew Lu, Feb. 13, 2013

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