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Read our Q&A for insights on common legal questions. If you'd like to get a general answer to a question that's not on our site, feel free to e-mail us with your issues. We may print your question and its answer on this page.

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My landlord gave me a new form lease that's loaded with fine print, and I have no clue what it means. The landlord says it's all standard lease terms. Should I be concerned? Is it really possible to negotiate in this situation?

Just because your landlord uses a form lease doesn't mean you're obligated to sign it as is. Every tenant, whether in a commercial or residential setting, should question hard-to-understand terms in a lease before signing. If your landlord can't explain what they mean, why should you accept them? And if something seems unfairly skewed in the landlord's favor, trust your instincts -- and see if you can get it changed or removed.

Even if your landlord does give you an explanation, why accept it at face value? Think about it: Would you trust someone you don't know with giving you information that will have a major financial impact on you -- especially when that person stands to profit from what you're questioning?

As the old saying goes, "Trust -- but verify."

If you would like an attorney to review a lease and go over its terms, suggesting areas for negotiation -- or if you'd like an attorney to take the lead on your negotiating, contact us.

I'm divorced and have kids from that marriage, and I'm engaged to someone who has kids from a previous relationship. We've been talking about doing a prenuptial agreement. I'm wondering, though, if that's really necessary. Is it worth the effort and expense?

You and your intended don't have to be independently wealthy for a prenuptial agreement, or "prenup", to make sense. If you have any significant assets coming into a marriage, you could make sure that you preserve what you brought with you to the marriage in the event of a future divorce, without having to argue about it when emotions are running high if the marriage doesn't last forever.

A "prenup" is especially important when there are children involved. Even if you and your spouse stay married until one of you dies, and you have a will stating your intentions for your property after your death, there's no guarantee that your children and their families will get exactly what you intend to give them. Why? Because there is a law that allows your spouse to challenge a will if he or she doesn't get at least what the law would give to a spouse when there's no will. It's called an "elective share". BUT -- if you and your spouse have a prenup that provides for your children and their families in the event of your death, and you mention that prenup in your will, your spouse can't claim what you wanted your children from a previous marriage to get from your estate.

There are many other reasons why a prenup or similar agreement may be a good thing for couples contemplating a life together -- even if you're setting up a household without getting a marriage license. If you'd like to discuss your particular circumstances, contact our office for a free initial consultation to find out more about your options.