Prenuptial agreements, sometimes called premarital agreements or “prenups” for short, can be instrumental in piecing your life back together after divorce should your marriage ever fail. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that couples make before getting married. It establishes ownership of assets in case of a divorce, and answers questions such as:
- Who owned what before the marriage?
- How will property acquired during the marriage be divided?
- What spousal payments will occur after the marriage ends?
These written contracts provide many benefits and protections that all couples should consider with the help of a Houston divorce lawyer.
Helps You Avoid a Litigious Divorce
Divorce is a difficult and emotional time in people’s lives, and for many couples, there are hurt feelings even when both spouses agreed to the divorce. This is not the best time to make financial decisions that can affect your future. Yet, assets — which may include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, businesses, and even debt — are among the main points of contention in a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, a divorce can take longer and be more costly by needing to litigate asset division in court.
Helps You Protect Your Wealth
Today, young newlyweds are taking longer to get married, meaning they have had more opportunities to accumulate wealth before entering a marriage than the last generation did. A prenuptial agreement can protect your existing assets and investments, like inheritance rights, business ownership, and other sources of wealth that often lead to heated disputes.
Helps You Divide Assets
The state of Texas is a community property state, meaning that all assets acquired during a marriage are considered community property and are therefore equally owned by both spouses regardless of whose name is on the bill or who is paying the bills. Many couples choose to enter a prenuptial agreement to avoid having the court decide how to distribute their assets. With a prenuptial agreement, you can decide ahead of time who will keep what property and financial assets and avoid an unfavorable court decision.
Protects You Against Spousal Debt
Prenuptial agreements protect more than just your wealth. They can help you avoid incurring your spouse’s debt after divorce. If you marry someone with considerable debt — such as from student loans or credit cards — you take on that debt. The average American carries several thousand dollars of debt, and the amount varies by age group. You can limit your liability for your spouse’s debt by signing a prenuptial agreement.
Facilitates High Net Worth Divorces
When couples come into a marriage with considerable assets, it’s important to protect them. In a high net worth divorce, couples with more than $1 million in assets have more to lose. The more assets a couple has, the more issues there will be to contest. A high net worth divorce may require experts to value assets and proper categorization of individual property. A prenuptial agreement can reduce the number of contested assets if the couple chooses to split.
Contact Our Reliable Team of Houston Divorce Lawyers
More couples getting married today are choosing prenuptial agreements to protect themselves in case of divorce. Although you might not wish to think about divorce before marriage, planning ahead can save you from needing to make tough decisions at a vulnerable time. A prenuptial agreement allows you to have control over how your assets are divided if you and your spouse ever choose to part.
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C, we have more than 70 years of combined legal experience in family law to help you navigate the challenges divorce presents. We can help you draft a solid prenuptial agreement that protects the assets you will bring to the marriage. Our firm provides compassionate and client-focused representation in Houston. Call (713) 336-7200 or complete our contact form for a consultation.