Are you getting married? Chances are you have a lot on your mind, from merging two separate lives to planning a wedding. You may not have had time yet to consider the legal ramifications of your union. However, marriage is a legal union, and it is important to consider defining and setting parameters for this agreement. While the idea of a prenuptial agreement may cause anxiety in some, it is really just a practical way of approaching marriage that can help to clarify roles and expectations and avoid bigger issues down the line. Below we have answered some of the most common questions that we receive about prenuptial agreements.
- What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two parties enter before marriage. This contract can be customized to the needs and concerns of the couple, and it generally includes terms describing how assets and property will be divided in the event of a death or divorce, along with whether spousal support will be paid and in what amount. Some parties may also need to have terms stipulating the treatment of an inheritance, such as keeping it a separate asset. Prenuptial agreements can also define roles and expectations in a marriage, as well as the consequences for veering from them.
- When should I get a prenuptial agreement?
It is important to get a prenuptial agreement prior to entering into a marriage. Generally, the longer you wait to get a prenuptial agreement, the more stressful the process will be, so it is best to consider getting one early on in an engagement. If you have a business or significant assets or are expecting to receive an inheritance, it is important to get a prenuptial agreement.
- When is it important to have a prenuptial agreement?
Every couple that is getting married should consider getting a prenuptial agreement, as it can save thousands of dollars down the road if the marriage ends in a divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are particularly important if one spouse has significantly more assets to ensure that both the assets and the financially disadvantaged spouse are protected in the event of a death or divorce. It is also important if one of the parties has a business or is expecting to receive an inheritance.
- Can I get a prenuptial agreement if I am already married?
Prenuptial agreements (also known as premarital agreements) may only be entered into prior to marriage. However, if you are already married, you have the option of getting a postnuptial agreement. This kind of agreement can serve the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, except the parties are already married when they enter into it. You can have a prenuptial agreement for a limited purpose, such as handling an inheritance or for more broad matters. You can also enter into postnuptial agreements even if you already have a prenuptial agreement in effect that does not cover certain issues if a need arises later.
- Do I need a lawyer to get a prenuptial agreement?
You are not legally required to have an attorney in order to create a prenuptial agreement. However, contracts are complicated, and a simple error in drafting it can render them unenforceable. It is also unlikely that someone who is not a lawyer will be aware of everything that must and can be covered in a prenuptial agreement. Working with a lawyer is an investment in your financial future and will allow you to customize your agreement so that it meets all of your needs and addresses your concerns both as individuals and as a couple.
- What should a prenuptial agreement include?
A prenuptial agreement should include terms that govern what will happen to assets and property in case of a divorce or death. For instance, you may stipulate that in the event of a divorce, all marital assets will be divided 50-50, even if you live in an equitable distribution state where this would not necessarily be the case in court. You may also stipulate that inheritances received by either spouse will remain their independent property and will not be subject to division.
- What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement?
There are many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement. This agreement allows both parties to protect their assets and define the terms of the relationship, including what will happen in the event that the marriage results in death or divorce. Many couples take comfort in the idea that everything is already worked out, and it also allows couples to clarify their expectations for the marriage.
- Are prenuptial agreements only about money?
Prenuptial agreements are a contract that primarily focuses on how assets and property will be classified and handled in the event of a death or divorce. However, they are not purely about money. For many couples, prenups create an opportunity to clarify roles and expectations for the marriage, as well as the ability to define the kind of marriage that they want.
- What are non-financial reasons to get a prenuptial agreement?
If there is a financially disadvantaged spouse in a marriage, having a prenuptial agreement may make them feel more secure if it provides terms for spousal support and settlement in the event of a divorce. Both parties can benefit from taking time to negotiate their roles and expectations for the marriage, and it can be a big relief to know that if anything happens and their marriage ends in divorce, they will not have to litigate the matter in court; they will instead only have to enforce this pre-existing agreement.
- Are prenuptial agreements only for rich couples?
Everyone who is getting married should consider getting a prenuptial agreement, even if they do not currently have large amounts of assets. That is because financial circumstances can change throughout the course of a marriage, and it is important to know how this will be handled in the event of a divorce.
Contact the Covington Law Firm, PLLC in Richmond, Texas
If you are getting married in Texas, it is important to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your assets legally. Contact the Covington Law Firm in Richmond, Texas, to schedule a personalized consultation and find out how we can help.