Is a Prenuptial Agreement Right for You?

Entering into a prenuptial agreement is almost as big of a decision as opting to spend the rest of your life with another individual. Because of this, our Dallas divorce attorneys ask clients to give the same kind of care and consideration to what they include in their prenup as they would to their decision to get married. Furthermore, we ask clients to consider whether or not a prenuptial agreement is really right for them.

While we are huge advocates of prenuptial agreements, we understand that they are not for everyone. Our Dallas divorce attorney can help you decide if a prenuptial agreement would be beneficial to your upcoming union, and if so, help you prepare a contract that would benefit both you and your future spouse.

Pros of a Texas Premarital Contract

Prenuptial agreements come with several pros, all of which would be extremely beneficial in the event of a divorce or separation. Prenuptial agreements are valuable in that they allow you to do the following:

  • Document yours and your spouse’s separate property so there is no question about what belongs to whom in the event of a divorce;
  • Support your estate plan;
  • Avoid court involvement when determining how to distribute your property;
  • Document any special arrangements between you and your spouse;
  • Avoid long and drawn-out court proceedings, thereby reducing the final cost of divorce;
  • Reduce conflict during divorce;
  • Establish rules and procedures for issues that may arise in your marriage in the future; and
  • Assign debt to the appropriate spouse so as to avoid the issue of liability in the event of divorce.

Many individuals mistakenly believe that bringing up these issues pre-marriage is a bad omen, and that it means that the spouses do not trust each other. However, addressing these financial issues before marriage can be extremely advantageous. One of the main irreconcilable differences in divorce is finances, so by laying out the groundwork for your financial future before marriage, you and your spouse can avoid a lot of these differences. When you are both on the same page at the beginning of your marriage, you can move forward content in the knowledge that should a financial issue arise, there is already a solution in your prenup.

Cons of a Texas Prenuptial Agreement

While many individuals claim to benefit from a prenuptial agreement, there are some that find it is not for them. It is important that you consider the proclaimed pitfalls of a prenuptial agreement before you broach the subject of creating one with your future spouse. The downsides of a prenup are as follows:

  • Prenuptial agreements are not romantic. Many just married couples go through a “honeymoon phase” that lasts about a year after marriage; by bringing up finances, property distribution, and the possibility of a Dallas divorce before the honeymoon even begins could dull the relationship in a significant way. If you fear that a prenuptial agreement will eliminate the romance before you are ready for reality to hit, consider a postnuptial agreement, which is the same thing as a prenuptial agreement, except that it is created after the marriage ceremony, and once you and your spouse know each other a bit more.
  • There may exist state laws that already address the issues that you want to cover in your prenuptial agreement, such as alimony, child support, and custody arrangements. If you find that state law already addresses all of your issues, then there would be no reason for you to go through the hassle of creating a prenuptial agreement.
  • Provisions regarding child support would be invalid. If you intend to include a provision regarding how much child support one spouse should receive in the event of a divorce, the prenuptial agreement would be rendered invalid by the judge. Therefore, it would not benefit anyone to have a prenuptial agreement created. (Texas Family Code, Section 4.003)
  • The courts can eliminate any provisions that it finds unfair, such as alimony waivers and alimony agreements.
  • Contrary to popular belief, a prenup cannot include personal preferences, such as where each would like to buy their first home, where they want their children to go to school, and what religion they would like their children to practice. Private domestic matters such as these may automatically render a prenuptial agreement unenforceable.

Does Your Situation Require a Prenuptial Agreement?

Now that you have analyzed the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement, it is important that you assess your particular situation to see if a prenup is really necessary. Some important questions to consider are:

  • Do you own any real estate?
  • Do you have more than $50,000 in assets, not including real estate?
  • Do you earn more than $100,00 a year?
  • Do you own a business?
  • Do you have more than one year’s worth of retirement benefits?
  • Do you have significant employee benefits?
  • Do you or your partner intend to go back to school for an advanced degree while the other supports the family?
  • Do you have an estate plan, and if so, does it name beneficiaries other than your spouse?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may be in your best interest to consult with a Dallas, Texas divorce attorney to discuss the creation of a valid and legally binding prenuptial agreement. Otherwise, if you answered no to all of the above, you may not necessarily need a prenuptial agreement.

Consult with a Dallas Divorce Attorney

Whether or not you have decided that a prenuptial agreement is right for you, it is always best to consult a legal professional before making your final decision. At the Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce lawyer can help you determine whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your spouse. If you determine that yes, it is, we can help you draft an agreement that is beneficial to both parties. To schedule a private consultation with one of our divorce attorneys today, contact our law firm at (214) 438-1152.

(image courtesy of Allan Ajifo)

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