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Marriage contracts increasingly popular among couples who remarry

There are many forms of loss that accompany a divorce. In addition to losing your partner and confidante, you may have also lost financial assets and access to your children.

Enduring such significant losses simultaneously can be crippling. For this reason, couples are often more cautious about marriage the second time around. One of the ways in which couples can protect themselves is by drafting a marriage contract.

What is a marriage contract?

Also known as a prenuptial agreement, or "prenup", it is a legally binding document that a lawyer works with a couple to create--prior to getting married. Prenups are commonly viewed as contracts that prepare a couple for divorce. While it can function in this capacity, a prenup can also serve to strengthen a marriage.

Supporting your divorce

There are many reasons you may want to take some precautionary measures in case your marriage turns sour. If there is a considerable disparity in income and assets between you and your fiancé, you may want to make sure you retain what's yours if you separate.

A prenup can also help you and your fiancé settle on the amount and duration of any spousal support to be paid--an agreement that could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees later on.

It can also serve as a tool to help you clearly distinguish between personal, pre-marital assets and shared, family assets. This makes the division of property much more straightforward in the event of divorce.

A prenup can also benefit you in non-financial ways. For instance, your spouse may be listed as your power of attorney and health care proxy. This agreement can automatically assign these responsibilities to someone else in the event of a divorce--so that your ex isn't left in the position of making life-or-death decisions for you if you're incapacitated.

Supporting your marriage

A prenup can also be a positive arrangement for many newlyweds. It provides an opportunity for couples to iron out important issues they may not otherwise discuss prior to getting married.

One of the leading sources of marital stress is finances. When couples don't see eye to eye on spending and saving, it can create a lot of turmoil in the relationship. This contract can help you and your spouse talk openly about financial concerns and make a plan for spending that works for both of you.

A prenup can also help address issues that arise with blended families. If you or your spouse has children from a previous marriage, a prenup can lay out issues surrounding care and education expenses. It may outline specific terms for children with special needs. It can also clearly define the financial responsibility that each spouse has in supporting a child.

It's worth understanding that a prenup can be whatever you want it to be. You have full control over what goes into it--and what stays out. When thoughtfully drafted, it can serve to help you and your spouse navigate around unexpected hurdles.

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