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Prenuptial agreements: stigma recedes, and wide applicability

It is flatly notable how some subjects in life seem largely objectionable or even taboo to most people and yet are seemingly widely embraced at some point thereafter.

Consider the prenuptial agreement, which has had a long tenure as a legal document inspiring the wrath of many Americans.

Indeed, the oft-termed "prenup" has long been viewed by many as the very antidote to love, with critics saying that it undermines marriage vows and the idea of an enduring union. A common criticism is that a prenuptial agreement focuses a couple's attention on negative things that might happen in their marriage even before the ink has dried on their marriage certificate.

Those criticisms, while still persisting, have muted in recent years. A growing number of people across the country, including in Arkansas, have gained a greater appreciation of what a prenuptial contract actually is and seeks to do.

Quite simply, a prenup is a planning instrument that can help a couple gain a strong measure of assurance and confidence as they approach marriage. And rather than being applicable to only business tycoons and movie stars engaged in high-asset divorces, there is a growing realization that prenuptial contracts can help couples in widely varying circumstances identify and safeguard the things that are especially important to them in marriage.

A thoughtfully considered and carefully executed marital contract addresses key matters in a dispassionate way. Indeed, it can serve to minimize emotions and volatility in the future regarding things such as family inheritances and assets brought into a marriage. A prenup can command exceptionally strong utility for couples entering a second or subsequent marriage, especially when it comes to things such as protecting the interests of children and grandkids from a prior union.

As with any legal instrument, a prenuptial agreement must be carefully written and executed to ensure its enforceability in a court of law. An experienced family law attorney who routinely drafts marital contracts can respond to questions and concerns.

Source: Bankrate, "Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements," accessed Jan. 26, 2014

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