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How a prenup can help a breadwinner spouse avoid paying alimony

If you work in a field that required you to work hard to get to where you're at, then most likely you want to protect as many of assets from being split up if you and your spouse divorce. One of the best ways to ensure that what you have worked so hard to amass doesn't get lost is to draft a prenuptial agreement before you get married.

In most jurisdictions, having a prenup in place can help the breadwinner spouse avoid having to pay alimony to the other in the event of a divorce. In order to ensure this occurs, it's important that your prenup clearly states that there will be no award of spousal support to your ex in the event you divorce.

If you neglect to put this clause in your prenup, you risk being ordered to pay alimony to your ex to maintain the lifestyle he or she had become accustomed to living while married to you.

Although it may seem like a nice thing to do for your new spouse, you should avoid paying off any debts he or she amassed prior to meeting you or individually during the course of the relationship. That's because if you pay on these over a period of time, your ex may be able to argue to a judge that you should continue to do so during and after the divorce.

Likewise, if you avoid sharing banking and business accounts with your spouse, it makes delineating what amounts and obligations belong to which person easier.

Finally, you should look to use the prenup to clearly define what financial responsibilities each spouse has in the relationship. Here, you should clearly define what household bills the two of you will carry. You should specify who will be saving for a college fund or a home purchase as well.

Engaged couples with disparate incomes or where one spouse has significant assets to protect can have a lot to lose if they don't sign a prenuptial agreement. The breadwinner spouse can be held liable for paying alimony to his or her ex for a lengthy period of time if he or she doesn't have one in place. An attorney can help you learn more about the benefits associated with signing a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Medical Economics, "Top 7 reasons women doctors need prenups," Rebekah Bernard MD, accessed Aug. 16, 2017

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