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The power of the law: prenuptial agreements

Marriage is, at least in part, a contract forming a partnership between two people. Virginia state law dictates most of the terms of this partnership, but couples also have the option to extend or modify the details in the form of a prenuptial agreement. However, this power is limited, and it is often advisable that future married people should approach these agreements with an eye for future validity. 

An article in Time dispels a prominent myth about prenups: that they are only for rich people. In fact, even young couples with no significant assets could benefit from drawing up a document that explains, in detail, each individual's financial responsibility should the partnership end in divorce. This is because the court might divide debt accrued during the marriage equally between the ex-spouses. Those wishing to avoid responsibility for another's student loan debt, for example, might wish to have a prenup. 

Couples thinking far ahead also tend to favor prenuptial agreements. These documents, as explained on FindLaw, have the potential to serve as a guideline for the distribution of retirement assets. Even if a marriage were to last past retirement, having a financial framework in place could help each spouse feel free of worry about maintaining a reasonable quality of life in any situation.

It is worth noting that the FindLaw source suggests that couples draw up a separate contract for clauses the court might find frivolous, while the Time article suggests that couples include lifestyle items that would protect against defamation. This goes to show that general advice is often not enough to form an authoritative basis on which to draft a prenuptial agreement. Success often requires an investigation into a couple's specific financial profile along with a thorough knowledge of relevant court decisions.

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