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Sign your prenuptial agreements well in advance of your wedding

Wedding season is in full swing, and we all know what that means -- more prenups! Experts say that the happy couple should consider drafting and approving their prenuptial agreements far in advance of the wedding date. Both partners need the time to consult their attorneys and negotiate the document's terms -- and who wants to worry about that as they are walking down the aisle? Early preparation can help you make the most of your pre-marital agreement while having the peace of mind to enjoy your special day.

It is important for couples to note that Texas courts assume that all property is communal marital property. Separate property must be clearly delineated before the marriage begins, or it can be classified as a gift or inheritance during the marriage. Separate property must be clearly documented in order to be protected. By identifying and categorizing your specific individual property, you can avoid having certain assets divided during the property division phase of a potential divorce. Prenuptial agreements also allow couples to create a separate property estate; that is, bride and groom agree that their individual income belongs to them, and their property is held by the individual who earned the money or received the asset.

Prenuptial agreements also help decide what will happen in the event of death or divorce. These documents help divide up assets and debt, and they may even include information about spousal support. This can be particularly helpful in the event that one of the parties agrees to give up a career to stay home with the family's children. A consultation with an estate planner is also recommended, as premarital agreements are activated upon one partner's death.

Your prenup can be a useful asset and tool to help guide you through your divorce and manage wealth throughout your marital relationship. Both parties should enlist the services of separate attorneys to review the agreement before a final decision is made. The right prenup takes away the worry and stress that can come along with a later breakup; just make sure that you sign it well before you hear wedding bells!

Source:  Allen Publishing, "Prenuptial Bliss: Negotiate Your Agreement Well Before Wedding Day" No author given, Jun. 20, 2014

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