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Tips for discussing a prenuptial agreement

When a couple in Washington decides to get married, they may want a prenuptial agreement. Even if a couple is simply planning on living together, a cohabitation agreement can help facilitate conversation and set expectations. It is important that both individuals have input into the agreement and are happy with it.

Before signing such an agreement, each person should have an attorney review it. One woman was given a cohabitation agreement by her boyfriend that included several provisions related to the possibility of marriage she was unwilling to agree to. One was that no matter how much money she put toward the home her boyfriend had purchased with his mother's help, she would not receive any financial compensation if they got a divorce. Another was that she would not receive alimony if they got a divorce.

Attorneys set out to protect their clients, and such an agreement might well be one that an attorney believed accomplished that. However, couples should talk about how a prenup can be created that would make both people comfortable. One possibility for a person who enters a marriage in which one owns a home is for the person to slowly gain equity in the home over the years. Another possibility is a sunset clause, which makes the prenup invalid after a certain number of years.

A person who is considering a divorce and who is unhappy with the terms of a prenup may want to discuss the situation with an attorney. If the person was pressured into signing or had insufficient legal counsel, the prenup might be declared invalid. This may also be the case if the prenup is clearly unfair to one party. In a community property state like Washington, if there is no prenup, each person is entitled to an equal share of marital property.

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