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Lawyers see increase in number of prenuptial agreements

Divorce lawyers are reporting that prenuptial or premarital agreements are on the rise. However, prenuptial agreements today are often different from what they were in the past. Modern prenups involve many aspects of a marriage other than money and are no longer just for the wealthy. Many couples consider prenuptial agreements to be a sort of marriage insurance that dictates how the division of property and other aspects of a divorce are decided should the marriage not work out.

Our Texas residents might be interested in an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey conducted in 2010. Of those who responded to the survey, 73 percent said the number of prenups had risen in the previous five years. Many attorneys are also reporting quirky additions to prenups. One Houston attorney said some agreements include weight limits, restrictions on hair color and a requirement on sexual activity. However, some divorce lawyers advise clients against adding unusual conditions such as those based on appearance or sexual performance to their agreements. They say many of these stipulations go against public policy and can be difficult to enforce.

Even though more couples are signing agreements with conditions like those listed above, most prenups are still about money. For wealthy couples, it is not uncommon for one spouse, usually the wife, to receive a stipend based on the length of the marriage. Many women end up earning millions of dollars for being married.

Prenuptial agreements help many people protect themselves in case of a divorce. Everyone considering marriage should have a full understanding of their legal rights when deciding if a prenup is right for their circumstances.

Source: KHOU, "Divorce lawyers see rise in untraditional pre-nups," Shern-Min Chow, Oct. 15, 2012

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