Prenuptial agreement is not a dirty word anymore. The nature of marriage is evolving, and more couples are seeing that they can have a partnership while retaining certain rights over their assets. As more couples delay marriage until after they have established their careers, it is logical that they will not want to place their future security at risk.
However, broaching the subject of a prenuptial agreement during wedding planning may be unsettling and confusing. After all, the purpose of such a contract is to establish which property is off the table during a divorce. Nevertheless, without such a contract in place, you and your spouse are at the mercy of the laws of Texas, and you may have circumstances for which those laws are not appropriate.
Do I really need one?
Your love is strong, and your relationship is solid. Perhaps you feel you are soulmates, and you trust each other implicitly. Why would you need a prenuptial agreement if this is the case? The answer is because you may not feel this way if your marriage is on the rocks. Why not make these difficult decisions now, when you still have each other's best interests at heart? In fact, if any of the following apply to you, a prenuptial agreement may be a very wise move:
- One of you owns a business. Without a premarital contract, you may need to liquidate your business to divide it with your spouse during divorce.
- One of you has a higher income than the other. With a prenuptial agreement, you can decide how you will handle spousal support issues.
- One of you comes to the marriage with extensive debt. Without a contract, you may end up with half your spouse's debt in a divorce.
- You plan for one spouse to stay home with the children. Your prenup can determine the financial support of the non-earning spouse.
- You have or plan to have pets. Protecting your pet with a prenup can help avoid the pain of fighting over a beloved companion.
If one of you has more property, cash or other assets than the other, a prenuptial agreement may be valuable. Typically, items like inheritances and assets you have before you get married remain your individual property during a divorce. However, this is not always the case. In fact, before drafting or signing such a contract, it is important that you and your partner seek individual legal advice so you both understand Texas laws and how they affect your situation.