Protecting Separate Property Through Premarital And Postmarital Agreements
Prenuptial agreements have long had a stigma of being pessimistic about marriage. But increasingly, people see the value and logic of a “prenup.” The reality is that a significant proportion of marriages do run their course. If and when they do, a premarital (or post-marital) agreement can actually make the divorce process more predictable and amicable.
Should you have a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself? Has your fiance/fiancee asked you to sign one? Divorce attorney Travis Thompson will help you with this important decision and make sure that the agreement is clear and legally sound if you do go that route.
What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or prenup, defines what property that belongs to each individual in the event the marriage is dissolved. In the simplest terms, many prenups stipulate that, in the event of a divorce, each party will keep what they brought to the marriage, and will receive certain other specified assets or debts. For example, if one party already owns a house or business or substantial financial assets, the parties to a prenup can decide in advance how those assets will be managed during the marriage and to whom they will be awarded in the event of a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can stipulate alimony (or no alimony) in the event of divorce, but a prenup cannot dictate any aspect of child custody (conservatorship), parenting time or child support.
What Is A Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement (postmarital agreement) is essentially the same as a prenup, except that the contract is entered after the parties are married. One common scenario, for example, is when one spouse receives an inheritance or lawsuit settlement, or other significant asset that they want to keep separate from the marital estate and the other spouse is in agreement.
Are Prenups and Postnups Enforceable?
When properly done, yes. If a prenuptial agreement is challenged, the court may look at whether it was patently unfair and whether their was coercion or deception. Were all assets and accounts fully disclosed? Was the prenup “sprung” on the less monied party at the last minute or strong-armed as an ultimatum? Did the parties have sufficient opportunity to review, understand what they were signing, and/or run it by legal counsel?
A Streamlined Process
No one wants to consider divorce when you are planning a wedding and preparing a life together. But if that day comes, a prenuptial agreement simplifies much of the divorce proceedings. Each party knows in advance how the estate will be divided, rather than having to litigate the division of property, saving a lot of stress and expense.
Get Answers To Your Questions
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or you have been presented with one, we invite you to arrange a consultation. Call our Houston office at 281-369-8665 or contact us online. Law Thompson, P.C. serves Harris County, Montgomery County and surrounding counties.