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Reasons to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement

Posted on in Prenuptial Agreements

Though signing a prenuptial agreement is almost always a good idea, our Dallas family law attorneysat the Clark Law Group are routinely faced with clients who are hesitant to sign one. We get it: prenuptial agreements come with the presumption that one day the marriage might end. Spouses do not want to enter a marriage with that thought hanging over their heads, so instead of dealing with the potential discomfort of discussing the terms of a possible divorce, they hope for the best. If the best does not happen, they are stuck dealing with the same problems that all non-prenuptial-signing couples deal with during a divorce: money battles, fights over assets, and general chaos.

Three Reasons to Sign a Prenup Before Tying the Knot

In order to fully appreciate the benefits of a Texas prenuptial agreement, it is important to view it not as a tool for divorce, but rather, as an instrument for a happy marriage. Couples who have signed a prenup cite the top three benefits of doing so being:

You are Forced to Openly Communicate With Each Other.

Couples do not understand the true meaning of communication until they are forced to discuss real issues like what will become of the family home should you divorce, where will the children go to school, and how will custody be determined? Yes, prenuptial agreements force couples to discuss uncomfortable issues that they may or may never have to deal with in the future, but doing so actually sets them up for a better marriage. This is because, if they are able to openly communicate about those issues beforehand, each will have a better understanding of the other's needs, concerns, and motivations as they enter their union.

Some couples are forced to compromise when drafting their prenup, another essential skill that makes for a happy marriage.

You Will Better Understand Your Financial Obligations in the Event of a Divorce.

One of the primary reasons that couples seek prenuptial agreements is to safeguard their finances and assets in the event of a divorce. Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property (and thereby subject to property division). There are exceptions to this, which can be found under Section 3.001 of the Texas Family Code. However, for when the Family Code does not lay out exceptions, and if you wish to make some, it is important that you do so before divorce is even a thought in your mind (and generally before you tie the knot).

For instance, if neither spouse wants to risk having to pay alimony in the event of a divorce, a prenup will allow you to waive alimony entirely. This way if, years down the road, you and your spouse are on the brink of divorce and one of you suddenly has a change of heart, you can refer to your prenup and remind him or her of his or her initial thoughts on the subject. On the flip side of the same coin, a prenup can allow you to predetermine alimony should both of you enter the union with the understanding that one parent will be a stay-at-home parent.

Beyond alimony and property division, a prenuptial agreement can serve to protect your ownership in a business, your stake in the family home, your retirement, and much, much more.

A Prenup Prepares You for Financial Sharing.

A lot changes when you go from being single to sharing a life with someone, but one of the biggest changes is to your finances. Suddenly, you have to discuss your personal purchases with your spouse beforehand, your income needs to stretch twice as far, and any debt you have suddenly becomes burdensome to your spouse. The best way to avoid future arguments over finances is to disclose all financial information upfront. Be honest about your debts, your income, and any assets either of you own. By addressing your finances prior to getting married, you leave no room for surprises (like your spouse only learning about your $20,000 worth of student loans when you are trying to buy a home) and ensure that you are both on the same financial page when you enter the union.

Work With a Dallas Family Law Attorney

At the Clark Law Group, we wish you and your spouse nothing but a happy and lifelong marriage. We believe that a Texas prenuptial agreement can go a long ways towards ensuring you get that. If you feel that a prenup is right for you, reach out to our Dallas family law attorneys at 469-906-2266 before your wedding date to begin drafting an agreement that works for both you and your spouse.

(image courtesy of Josh Felise)

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