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Prenup: court of opinion changing regarding this planning device

Candidly, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the term "prenup" in uppercase and bold lettering on a tabloid at your local supermarket in Little Rock or elsewhere in Arkansas?

Are you thinking a celebrity breakup and one party's attempt to shield some outlandishly high level of assets from his or her suddenly estranged partner?

Who isn't?

It has long been a commonplace that public perception of the prenuptial agreement has been tinged by thoughts of its employment as a rather cold and clinical device employed by one partner at the expense of the other.

Coupled with that view is the widespread and collective assessment of many that a prenup is almost always employed unilaterally in an unequal way in a one-sided financial partnership. A typical prenup-related scenario that has become a virtual stereotype features one party commanding high assets who is focused mightily on retaining them in the event of a marital collapse.

Assuredly, that view of prenups is borne out as true in many instances, because a prenuptial contract does in fact often involve wealth disparity and include language focused on asset retention by one party if a union fails.

As noted in a recent article on prenups, though, such agreements "have grown up" to now address many planning concerns of couples that have little to do with "mine versus yours if things sour" considerations.

A special niche-type value of prenups attaches, for example, to cases where older couples are entering a second or subsequent marriage. In many such unions, both partners have children from prior relationships that they understandably want to pass wealth along to.

A prenuptial agreement is the ideal vehicle for making clear what a person's intentions are in that regard, and to ensure that planning goals are rendered enforceable through airtight legal drafting.

In fact, prenups these days can address myriad concerns of couples who see contract execution as an exercise that unifies rather than fragments a relationship by allowing for candid discussion of important points and planning that accounts for future needs.

An experienced family law attorney can point out the multifaceted utility of marital contracts and provide knowledgeable and tailored advice to a client in a given case.

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