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Abstract

Although prenuptial agreements have existed in the United States for many decades, they did not catapult into the public foreground during the courtship/engagement/just before marriage or remarriage stage of the life cycle until the 1980s. In the past decade, this particular kind of document has received a great deal of attention in the media, in lawyers' offices, and in courtrooms. This article explores the raison d'ěre of antenuptials and their psychological, familial, and legal ramifications. Some guidelines are offered to defuse the high anxiety they arouse in some individuals as well as to provide signals as to when the contents of the prenuptial herald “danger” ahead. The potential positive aspects of both psychosocial prenuptial accords and legal prenuptial agreements are explored as is the role of the psychologist as therapist or “mediator” when a prenuptial is in the offing.