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Prenuptial agreements not just for the super wealthy

Yes, it's true. If you are a billionaire with a global business empire or a movie star receiving millions of dollars for each new movie, a before you get married is almost a given. But you hardly need to be Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch or Brad Pitt to avail yourself of the protections that such a legal document can provide.

With that said, how do you decide if a prenuptial agreement is something you need and will really be beneficial to you? Entrepreneurs who have spent time building a successful business, even if its success is local rather than global, and its receipts measured in tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, can find a prenup useful in preserving the existence of their business in the event of a subsequent divorce. Professional athletes, even if they are not world champion superstars, can also benefit as could persons anticipating a substantial financial windfall or inheritance.

Such earnings may occur during the marriage, but the groundwork for them may have been set by long and arduous efforts before it. Without a prenup, especially in a community property state such as Texas, the soon to be ex-spouse may wind up getting half of such amounts.

Prenuptial agreements can also be helpful in instances of second or subsequent marriages, particularly in those where there are children from a previous marriage who need to be protected and properly provided for.

Determining whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you depends on an assessment of your particular situation, as well as the level of your current and anticipated assets and earnings. If you are thinking of getting married, sitting down with an experienced family law attorney to assess whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you is the prudent thing to do.

Source: CNBC.com, "How to know if you need a prenup" Kelley Holland, Jun. 18, 2013

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