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Getting married? Get a prenup!

Once a hallmark of the über-wealthy or those in second or subsequent marriages, prenups are now commonplace among young professionals seeking to wed.

According to one nonprofit that offers advice to couples, the Equality in Marriage Institute, there has been three times the number of inquiries regarding prenuptial agreements from couples in the two-year period from 2003-2005.

It's part pragmatism here in the state of New York — couples divorce here at almost eight times the nation's average.

But that's not the only reason. In past generations, couples married younger, when they had amassed far fewer assets, separately and together. In New York City, the average age for first marriages ranges from 30 to 34 — plenty of time to have built up a portfolio and socked away a 401k.

Sometimes it's not what you have right now but what you anticipate having in the future that you wish to protect if the marriage sours. While most states disallow this, New York permits prospective future gains that are linked to degrees, licenses and partnerships to be decreed as marital property. Without an airtight prenup in place, someone's livelihood could be on the line one day.

Whatever plans you may anticipate for your future fortunes, the fact remains that no one can predict how a marriage will play out over time. Addressing the issue of a prenuptial agreement prior to walking down the aisle in a mature, calm and civil manner can allow both parties to express their feelings about the matter.

Both parties should have separate legal counsel review the prenuptial agreement prior to signing to ensure it is fair and both parties' interests are represented.

Source: New York Magazine, "With This Ring (and This Contract), I Thee Wed," Geoffrey Gray, Dec. 03, 2016

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