People get married because they love each other and get married to show the commitment they have for each other. But, what happens when things don’t work out? No marriage bond is absolutely break-proof. Divorce can happen to anyone at any time. We take precautions for everything else. We buy insurance for our cars, jewelry, electronics, why not our marriage too?
Too often we hear that preparing a prenuptial agreement or even considering one is like “planning for failure in your marriage” or “if you have to plan your divorce before you get married, don’t get married.” But, why does it have to be this way? It doesn’t.
Prenups are good for everyone – they don’t discriminate!
Prenuptial agreements (prenups) aren’t meant to “doom” your marriage. Prenups can cover a wide array of items that are important to you, such as your property, retirement, and financial accounts. They can essentially fix financial issues that could arise in your marriage before they actually do. A prenup can help protect your assets that you’ve worked so hard for. Or maybe you are both just starting out in your careers but estimate to acquire a significant amount of assets throughout the course of your lifetime. A prenup can detail how business(es), investments, and any bank accounts and assets, if acquired, will be managed
Moreover, prenups are not exclusively for the “wealthy” either. Prenups can help to protect not only your assets but to also ensure that should you pass before time, your assets/estate goes to the person or people you intended. This is especially important for people who are entering into a second marriage and have kids from a previous marriage as well. Who do you want to benefit from your estate? Equally or unequally? A prenup can outline this simple issue.
Prenups can also help to protect you against debt. Once married debt acquired is marital debt. It means it becomes your debt, we are after all, in Texas, a community property state.
What if it turns out that your spouse has a gambling addiction which s/he forgets to tell you about until it’s too late? It’s better to prepare rather than spend the rest of your life trying to pay that debt off. The cost of the prenup will definitely be less expensive than hundreds of thousands spent without the protection of a prenuptial agreement.
The elements of a prenup…
In order for your prenup to serve its purpose:
- Both parties have to agree to give “full disclosure” of each one’s liabilities, income, and assets. You have to do the best to avoid a claim of fraud, duress, and or misrepresentation.
- Each contracting party must hire their own attorney to. Your attorney will draft your prenup and your spouse’s attorney will review the terms of the agreement to help avoid any misunderstanding(s).
- The agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and their respective attorneys, and the agreement must be notarized.
If you find yourself considering having a prenup drafted, don’t wait until the week before your wedding. Sure, there are much more fun things to think about when wedding planning such as the bachelor/ette party, cake tasting and venue searching, but find some time to talk to your attorney about a prenup as well. Considering each party will need to find an attorney to review the prenup you’ll need to have it ready way ahead of your wedding day to review it as many times as necessary without the stress. Remember you do not want to pressure your new spouse or be pressured into signing anything without the time to review. Drafting a fair and enforceable prenup agreement takes time. The longer you wait, the higher the risk that one of you will be unhappy with the agreement and not be able to resolve it in time. The levels of stress will increase. Why put that damper on your wedding if it’s unnecessary? Continue reading