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It's Valentine's Day! You're engaged....so now what?

Google Valentine's Dayand you find a myriad of statistics from different sources (some reliable somenot-so-much) regarding the number of engagements entered into on this romanticgesture filled day each year. The statistics that I've found range from 10%of all couples get engaged on Valentine's Day to an American Expresssurvey estimating that 2 million couples will get engagedtoday, February 14, 2013. What do these numbers mean to me? From a personal perspective,I am sure I will be extending congratulations to at least one happy couple inthe next few days. From a professional standpoint, I reflect on the importanceof a prenuptial agreement. I am not a pessimist. I am a realist .As a familylaw attorney, it is always unnerving to me how many individuals sit in myoffice contemplating divorce (usually without a prenuptial agreement) without theslightest idea of the assets they could have protected with a prenuptial agreementor with just a little bit pre-marital planning/advice (for those who are 100%anti-prenup). Before you discount the idea of a prenuptial or premaritalplanning, ask yourself the following questions: What is separate property? Howdo I avoid comingling my separate property? What happens to debts that myspouse incurs during the marriage in his/her name only without my knowledge?Lastly, if you think depositing your earnings into a separate account (vs.joint account) during the marriage protects them, you are wrong. The answers tothese questions and others can be overwhelming and frightening if you waituntil divorce is contemplated to become informed.

Tiffany T. Woodward
Jill W. Warren

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