An engagement is an exciting chapter in a couple’s life together, as it symbolizes the commitment and love for each other to enter into marriage together. After an engagement and before a wedding or exchanging of vowels, many decisions concerning not only the ceremony and wedding itself but lifestyle choices and expectations are typically discussed and agreed upon. During this time of planning for a couples’ future life together, the question of whether or not to enter into a prenuptial agreement, or simply prenup, may arise.
While many people are familiar with the term from movies and pop culture, the purpose and benefit of prenuptial agreements remain widely unknown, making it difficult for a couple to agree on whether or not a prenup is necessary for their marriage.
What is a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, refers to the process of two people entering into a contract that determines and addresses property issues before becoming legally married. Pop culture has done a great job in creating a disillusion around not only the intent but the benefits of a couple choosing to enter into a prenup. Traditionally most people hear the word “prenup” and associate the meaning in a negative light, generally used to slander individuals perceived to be entering into marriage for monetary or materialistic values, however, that is not the case.
Benefits of a Prenup
Typically prenups determine a division of assets and debts of two individuals before marriage in the event that the couple should one day separate. A common misconception associated with prenups is that they’re only for the wealthy. Regardless of status, any couple can benefit from a prenuptial agreement for a variety of reasons.
Establishes Open Communication
Because a prenup requires a couple to sit down and draft a contract based on their individual assets, prenups actually aid in initiating an open conversation on the topic. Discussion during the formation of a prenup can help establish healthy boundaries and communication on daunting subjects that prenups commonly address that include but are not limited to the topics of:
- Debt management
Protect Family Heirlooms
A key benefit to a prenup is the protection it applies to treasured items such as family heirlooms and any other individual property that may hold great sentimental value. By defining personal possessions and family heirlooms that a person would not be willing to part with, in the case of a divorce, give peace of mind to both parties.
It’s no surprise that depending on the case, divorces can be costly. One area that fuels lengthy divorce battles, and consequently the cost of attorney fees, is a division of assets. As in the case of many divorces, couples enter into a divorce agreeing on key issues, however, as emotions rise and the divorce process begins, his or her original stance may change or develop. Having a clear and legally binding document that addresses key components to finalizing a divorce can expedite the process tremendously.
Defining Marital Property
Texas is a community-property state, which means that in the case of a divorce any assets or debt that a couple of shares could be split evenly. A prenup allows for a couple to decide upon what will qualify as shared, marital property and what will not.
While it may be a far thought from any newly engaged person’s mind, separations and divorces can be ugly, and an individual’s hurt can be multiplied exponentially through the process. Aside from ensuring that precious items such as family heirlooms remain in your possession post-divorce, prenups can also protect against taking on spouse’s debt from credit cards or loans. Just as assets are divided equally, so can liabilities such as debt. Through prenups, you can outline and define individual liabilities that could one day be used against you.
Texas Premarital Agreement Lawyers
While prenups may have been given bad wraps in the past, they should be viewed as planning tools for a couple’s future. Choosing to enter into a prenup is a responsible decision made by a couple with a commitment to honor each other while protecting individual assets. To explore whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you, or for professional assistance negotiating, drafting, or reviewing a prenuptial agreement, contact Terry & Roberts today to discuss your needs with a skilled and knowledgeable Texas family law attorney.