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The advantages of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

Alaska residents may be aware of the high-profile divorce of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer is part of a growing trend of people over the age of 50 who are divorcing. Furthermore, while some of those individuals are remarrying, the chances of second and third marriages ending in divorce is even higher. With this in mind, people may wish to consider prenuptial agreements as well as postnuptial ones. Spitzer's postnuptial agreement with his wife, which serve as a divorce settlement agreement, ultimately gave her a Fifth Avenue home, $7.5 million in cash and hundreds of thousands more in maintenance payments plus a stipend for charity.

However, these types of agreements do not just protect assets in case the marriage ends in divorce. They can also ensure that assets are passed on to children from previous relationships after an individual's death, which gives an individual more freedom to distribute assets as desired.

A postnuptial agreement can actually be made at any time in a marriage including near its end. This may be the case in a high-asset divorce like Spitzer's. There are a few important points to keep in mind when making either type of agreement at any point in order to ensure that they remain valid.

The agreement needs to be put into writing. Prenuptial agreements need to be completed well before the wedding itself. Otherwise, the agreement may appear to be coercive. Each individual should have an attorney, and disclosure of all assets is crucial. The agreement also has to be fair to both sides, as agreements that leave the spouse who is less wealthy at a strong disadvantage may not hold up in court.

Source: Equities , "What You Can Learn from Eliot Spitzer's Costly $7.5 Million Divorce", Dennis Miller , June 14, 2014

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