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How do prenuptial agreements benefit Texas couples?

A positive attitude is essential for entering into any major physical, financial or emotional commitment. That's true whether you are a marathon runner in training, the owner of a new Houston business or a fiance set to embark on marriage. Optimism is a propellant, but it cannot be a substitute for hard work or clear thinking.

The celebratory events of a wedding day can become an engaged couple's sole focus. Less joyful subjects like financial compatibility are put aside. Some newly-married spouses never talk seriously about money until long after vows are exchanged.

More and more engaged couples are realizing pre-marital financial discussions are crucial. Each person has expectations about separate and joint property ownership and the way money is earned, spent, invested and saved during marriage. These legitimate concerns can lead to a prenuptial agreement, which designates how marital assets are divided in the event of divorce or death.

Many people accumulate at least some assets and debt before marrying for the first time. Individuals who enter into subsequent marriages often have a considerable stockpile of property. Pre-marital agreements set the course for the distribution of assets like small businesses, stocks, real estate investments and pension funds.

The best way to look at the benefits of a prenuptial agreement can be to think about the consequences of not having one. Emotional property conflicts are common during divorce. The dispute can end up in a Texas court, where a judge will abide by community property laws to resolve the issue – a legal, but possibly undesirable, solution.

It's not surprising many individuals prefer to make their own choices. Engaged couples can reach compromises while negotiating financial contracts and modify agreements at a later date, if they so choose. Prenuptial agreements must include fair distribution of property and must be signed voluntarily – the parties use separate attorneys to avoid conflicts of interest.

Source: Bankrate.com, "Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements" Jan. 11, 2015

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