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Why engaged couples should sign a prenup

Not just for celebrities
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Not just for celebrities

Although prenuptial agreements are often associated with celebrity couples -- and their headline-generating divorces -- they're not just for boldface names.

Any couple who brings personal or business assets to the marriage can benefit from a prenup. The most basic of these contracts lists an inventory of premarital assets that in the event of a divorce will remain the property of their original owner.

"Prenups are good because they preserve the expectations of the parties and prevent surprises in a divorce trial," says attorney Bob Nachshin, a partner in family law firm Nachshin & Langlois LLP in Los Angeles, and co-author of "I Do, You Do ... But Just Sign Here: A Quick and Easy Guide to Cohabitation, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements." "In my 34 years of practice, I've never seen a prenuptial agreement that wasn't enforced by the court."

The agreements can also specify that future income from a business or additional assets accrued through inheritance are not to be shared with your spouse should the marriage end.

"You can basically do anything you want in a prenup, except you can't limit child support, and you can't limit child custody and visitation," says Nachshin.


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