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Prenups are not just for the wealthy anymore

You don't have to be a celebrity like Katie Holmes or Kim Kardashian to draw up a prenuptial agreement. Although these arrangements are greatly talked about in celebrity relationships, these legally binding contracts are not just for the rich and the famous. In fact, more couples these days are signing prenuptial agreements.

Given the current economic atmosphere, people are concerned about protecting what they have. A look at marriage statistics highlights the importance of planning ahead. Almost half of all first marriages end in divorce.

A prenuptial agreement not only covers current assets, but also gives people control over their future wealth. These agreements are essential when at least one party in the marriage earns a sizeable income. People may also have some assets which they prefer to keep separate -- like an IRA, family property, or an expected inheritance. People should also consider sentimental possessions like jewelry and other emotional belongings like pets. All these issues need to be addressed in a prenup.

Some people also bring debts, as well as assets, to a marriage. If there's no prenup, creditors can sometimes turn to marital or community property to pay the debts of credit cards and student loans of just one spouse.

Divorce affects millions of families every year, including children of past and future relationships. A prenup is merely another sensible method to manage one's financial dealings depending on possible future events, just like any type of insurance. An experienced family attorney can make sure that a prenuptial agreement is properly created and executed, adhering to specific legal formalities to ensure it is enforceable in court.

Source:  CBS News MoneyWatch, "Why a prenup may be right for you" Mellody Hobson, May. 29, 2013

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