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How a prenup may be helpful in a divorce

A prenuptial agreement may be a good idea for some Washington couples, but they may be concerned about how their families will react or worry that having the prenup could affect the stability of their relationship. Although it may be difficult to talk about issues such as debt or bankruptcy, a prenup can actually help open the lines of communication.

It may also protect any assets a person is bringing into the marriage as well as a business if one person is a business owner. Without the prenup, the business owner could lose part of the business to the spouse. A prenup can also be used to protect one spouse from the debts of another spouse. Some couples might use the prenup to state who will get the pets in the event of divorce.

The prenup may establish alimony payments if one person is a much higher earner than the other. This can be particularly important if one person stays home to be a full-time parent. Leaving the workforce can have a long-term effect on the person's earning power, and the person may want to make sure alimony continues past the period that child support ends. For the prenup to be valid, each person needs to see an attorney, and each person must have fully disclosed all financial information.

With or without a prenup, divorce can be a difficult process. However, if there is not a prenup, this does not mean couples must inevitably end up fighting in court over property. They might want to consider mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method to negotiate property division and child custody if there are children. While litigation is primarily an adversarial process, mediation and similar approaches focus on resolving conflict and reaching a solution that satisfies both parties. These approaches may also allow for more individualized solutions.

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