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..."10% who pursue a prenuptial agreement decide against the marriage"

Britney Spears has plenty of critics. But with her divorce, she's laughing all the way to the bank. With all of Britney's millions, K-Fed made off with a lot, lot less than he could have. Her love may have faded, but her ironclad "prenup" has steadfastly weathered the test of time!

It may not be the most romantic part of your blooming relationship, but a "prenup" can protect your financial future. Whether you're Donald and Ivana, Dick and Jane, or Britney and K-Fed, here's what you need to know before walking down the aisle.

Most people take marriage seriously, and hold high hopes for their new relationships. It's not surprising that premarriage agreements aren't high on any betrothed's desirability list.

Even thinking about a prenup is often likened to planning the end of a relationship before it's even begun. But in these times of soaring divorce rates and uncertain financial stability, it only makes sense that people should be concerned with such practicalities.

Simply put, a prenuptial (also known as an antenuptial) agreement is an legal agreement signed by you and your future spouse.

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Normally, they deal with straightforward financial and legal issues in the event of a divorce or a death -- what will be done with the house, any stocks, bonds, or other such marital assets. They might also include some extras like custody arrangements, spousal support, or even what happens to the family pet.

Finances are generally the main focus, but even the smallest details can be included if desired. Just be aware that adding such "extras" can be legally murky and expensive, and so should generally be considered as more psychologically reassuring than legally binding.

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Although most agreements are relatively straightforward, this doesn't mean that they are simple. The emotional cost alone could be prohibitive: 10% of people who begin to pursue a prenuptial agreement decide against the marriage because of the strain it causes.

Arguing that such relationships wouldn't have lasted anyway doesn't make the concept any less daunting, either. "Prenuptial agreements are very stressful, but are also very legitimate; particularly if one of the pair has been through divorce in the past.

It may be seem a foolish idea to put your relationship at risk over finances, but consider this: if the two of you are unable to sit down and talk rationally about your needs and fears when your relationship is good, then how bad might it be if things ever turn sour?



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