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Making the important decision of having an agreement or not.

Ever since her friend went through a bitter divorce, Katia Andrejev has been entertaining the idea of a prenup.

The Finnish-Russian expat, who is still single, could not forget what her friend said after the marriage ended: Find somebody you hate and give them half of what you own.

"Clearly, he wasn't happy with his return on investment," Andrejev recalls.

Andrejev now fully understands why prenups are necessary. She believes that while love is part of it, marriage is still a "practical union" that is constantly faced with financial decisions and banking matters, hence it must be anchored on a legal contract.

"You would hardly go into any other relationship or contract without some sort of insurance, risk evaluation or financial audit, so why dismiss a prenup when it is in addition related to emotions u emotions that could potentially increase the risk of misjudging the other party's motives," she said.

"I would personally doubt the true intentions of someone who isn't willing to sign a reasonable prenup. We are all wired in our own unique, intricate ways and unfortunately aegold digger' is not just a record-breaking song from American rapper Kanye West," she adds.

However, for Katie McGeachie, 29, an expat from Australia who's currently engaged, a prenup may not be necessary for couples who are on an equal financial footing.

"The only time a prenuptial agreement seems reasonable is when one person has a substantially greater number of assets than the other at the time of engagement or marriage," she said.

While it may be a smart option, McGeachie thinks that discussions about prenuptial agreements are a fast way to kill a romance. But she's quick to add that the matter is a "completely personal decision" that only a couple can make and agree on.

"I'm sure it's often the case that the person being asked to sign the prenuptial agreement (usually the person in a worse financial position than their partner) can be made to feel like their partner doesn't trust them or that, by mentioning a prenuptial agreement, their partner is implying that they are only marrying for money. I'm sure the mention of a prenup by one person has spelled the end of many a happy relationship," she said.

Ramachandran Nair, a married expat from India, agrees, saying that setting out a pre-marital contract is ridiculous.

"I don't favour having such a contract for life. To me, it is ridiculous to have terms and conditions for living. These are all fresh concepts that some people want to have, but they don't believe in affection or love.

"I am married, but I do not wish to recommend having such an agreement in place for couples before they tie the knot.

"In such case, the priority given to life is secondary. It's like they work in an organisation with an option left to terminate their contract at any point of time. How can we have a documented life?" he said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 22, 2010
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