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Should couples plan their wedding and divorce at the same time?

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When couples get engaged, the last thing on their mind is the end of their marriage. After all, thinking about divorce during an engagement is not romantic. However, just because it is not romantic does not mean that is not a good idea. Indeed, drafting a prenuptial agreement may make the marriage stronger.

That may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the hidden benefits of drafting a prenuptial agreement is that the couple must talk about money. Given the prominent role of money in life, financial compatibility is an important part of relationship compatibility.

Besides divorce, a second reason that some couples get a prenuptial agreement is to clarify what happens when one of the partners dies. The spouse may pair a prenuptial agreement with a will to settle how his or her assets will flow after death. If there is no will in place, Illinois law provides that the surviving spouse gets half of the estate and the kids get the rest.

While drafting a prenuptial agreement is a good idea, couples need to draft it correctly to reap the benefits. Both partners need to fully disclose their finances during the drafting process. If one person has a fortune, they need to share it. If one person has a mountain of student loan debt, they need to disclose it. Both partners should have an accurate snapshot of the financial situation of the other. The agreement must also be fair. If it is terribly one-sided, a court is likely to toss it out.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Plan your divorce before your wedding day," Jim Gallagher, Feb. 23, 2014

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