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Prenuptial agreements:
What are they?

Nothing can kill romance faster than the word prenup. But with about one in three of all first marriages ending in divorce, and 50 percent of second or third ones hitting the skids, a prenup is smart financial planning, legal and financial experts say.

"Think of it as a business arrangement or as an insurance policy to help remove some of the emotion that's naturally involved," says Nancy Dunnan, a New York City financial adviser and author. "Marriage is not just an emotional and physical union -- it's also a financial union. A prenup and the discussions that go with it can help ensure the financial well-being of the marriage."

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A prenuptial accord is a contract between two people about to wed that spells out how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death. Such agreements have existed for thousands of years in some form or another, particularly in European and Far Eastern cultures, where royal families have always made provisions for protecting their wealth.

Basics home Not for wealthy only

--Posted: June 15, 1999

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See Also
What's a prenup?
Who should have one?
Approaching the subject
Signs of a valid prenup
Follow proper legal procedures
Keeping the prenup up to date
Legal benefits of having a prenup
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