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Does Your Wedding Plan Include a Prenup? It Should

There are lots of things to do during wedding planning, but sometime after getting engaged and before you get married you should schedule some time to write up a prenup.

Prenuptial agreements get a bad rap since usually they only hit the news when someone is getting divorced. But contrary to popular belief, most people don't write prenups because they already think the marriage is doomed.

Discussions about finances are some of the most difficult conversations to have in a marriage. Having a prenup can make those conversations much easier.

A prenup is a contract that specifies the ownership of property after two people get married. When you're single the things you own are yours, but when you get married it's not so straightforward.

Arizona, along with nine other states, follows the law of community property which says that a married couple shares ownership of everything earned during the marriage 50/50.

That's a lovely idea, unless one person in the marriage plans to take on a large amount of debt after the wedding, say by going back to college or starting a business.

In that case, both members of the couple are putting a lot at risk. If you can't pay back the loan, creditors can go after the debtor's assets and any marital assets that are communally owned.

Luckily a prenup can help protect you.

By specifying what property will be shared and what will be owned by an individual, you can protect each other from losing everything if one person takes a financial risk. That can save you from having to fight as much about money when the bills start rolling in.

In general, a prenup is a great opportunity to talk about money before you get married because you can also use it to split up financial responsibilities before the wedding.

That allows you to know who is responsible for managing bills and joint bank accounts, retirement and life insurances benefits, and credit card payments.

With that settled before the wedding you'll have less to argue about afterwards. It's not what you expect from a prenup, but it's a great side benefit.

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