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Issues older couples should consider prior to marriage, P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about a number of issues older couple's should consider when planning a marriage. As we noted, older couples often bring significant assets to a marriage, and perhaps significant debts and responsibilities as well. Because of this, they face risks that younger couples do not if their marriage ends in divorce.

With a prenuptial agreement couples can decide a number of issues right off the bat, rather than leaving it for a judge to determine. Each state has its own rules about what types of issues can and cannot be on a prenuptial agreement. No state permits restrictions of child custody, child support or visitation rights. Some states permit waivers of spousal support rights, though others don't.

The key to prenuptial agreements is that they are validly constructed. This means that they are free of fraud, duress, mistake and misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material fact. It also means that they are unconscionable at the time of execution. If the facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement end up changing over time so as to make it unfair or unreasonable, a judge may decide it is unenforceable. Short of that, though, the agreement will be enforced.

One of the things a couple should be sure to include on their prenuptial agreement is any outstanding debt they have prior to marriage and how that will be dealt with in the marriage and in the event of divorce.

Other issues an older couple should be sure to address are benefits, possible long-term care insurance, tax consequences of marriage and retirement. This last issue is particularly important for older couples. They should particularly discuss whether their plans for retirement are compatible and how they are going to make it happen financially.

Source: Fox Business, "Putting the 'Aged' in Engaged: Financial tips for Late Marriages," Julie Bawden-Davis, April 19, 2012

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