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Why a prenup is wise if you bring assets or debt into marriage

If you're engaged, chances are that you've gotten differing views from family, friends and colleagues on whether or not you should get a prenuptial agreement. Some people may argue that you need to protect yourself and your assets should the marriage end in divorce. Others may contend that getting a prenup can damage a couple's trust in each other.

Every couple enters a marriage with varying levels of assets, debt and responsibilities. That's why prenups are more important for some than others. Below are two key situations in which a prenup is a wise choice to help avoid serious financial issues should you not live happily every after.

You have assets that you want to keep separate

If you have significant assets -- whether they are liquid, like a large inheritance, or tied up in property or a business -- and you want to help ensure that those assets remain yours alone in a divorce, a prenup is important. Of course, you still need to be careful not to commingle those assets with your spouse to ensure that they remain separate.

If you have ownership in a business, a prenup is recommended to keep your spouse from being able to claim part of that business that you've started and built on your own or that you've inherited or share with your family.

You have debt

Most everyone has some debt. However, it's essential for engaged couples to have a frank discussion about just how much each of them has. People are often embarrassed to admit that they've run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt or have outstanding medical bills.

Too often, people don't learn these things until it's too late and they end up with responsibility for their spouse's debt. A prenup can help couples keep the debt they bring into the marriage separate from that of their spouse.

Remember that Arizona is a community property state. Everything that is determined to be marital property and debt is split 50/50 by a couple in a divorce. A well-drafted prenup can help couples determine for themselves how they want assets and debt to be divvied up if the marriage ends.

Source: PopSugar, "Should You Get a Prenup? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself First," Jen Glantz, Nov. 26, 2017

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