Some Houston couples don’t need or want a formal financial agreement ahead of marriage. Texas family law attorneys respect those positions while also helping couples interested in prenuptial agreements. Before you make any decisions concerning a pre-marital contract, make sure you understand how the contracts work.
Some engaged couples enter marriage with little personal property, while others accumulate considerable assets and debt while single. Prenuptial agreements benefit individuals who wish to define ownership of property in case the marriage ends in divorce or one spouse dies. The contracts allow soon-to-be spouses to take control over finances in advance of a long-term commitment.
Some critics of prenuptial agreements argue the contracts are unnecessary and can cause friction for engaged couples. Proponents believe the contracts are fair, voluntary and serve to help couples move into marriage with full knowledge of their financial situation, no matter what transpires in the years to come.
When spouses divorce without a prenuptial agreement in Texas, an asset dispute could lead to a courtroom showdown where community property laws are applied. A judge decides how marital property is shared. With prenuptial agreements, couples make those choices in advance of marriage in a non-adversarial environment.
Interest in prenuptial agreements has grown nationwide. It appears engaged couples want more certainty about future finances. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers saw a 63 percent spike in pre-marital contract requests within three years, according to a 2013 report.
Prenuptial agreements can protect important separate assets, including businesses and inheritances for children of previous relationships. The contracts can stipulate whether alimony is appropriate and set terms for support should the marriage end. The terms are as couples wish them to be.
Parties may have conflicts any time finances are part of a negotiated agreement. However, many couples believe ironing out money matters before marriage or in post-nuptial agreements during marriage is preferable to stressful divorce disputes.