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Prenuptial Agreements 2017-08-07T16:52:34+00:00

Prenuptial Agreements

Congratulations! You’re getting married, you’re in love and looking forward to your future together!
There’s so much to do to prepare for your wedding and yet in the back of your mind you’re wondering,
“Can I protect my assets … just in case?”

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Marriage agreements have been around for thousands of years dating back to ancient Egyptian culture. Today, a prenup – or prenupt, is a contractual way to address issues in your marriage that would otherwise be dictated by state law. In other words, you decide how you want to manage your personal and financial affairs, not the statutes of the state where you live during marriage or where you get divorced.

A prenup can also stipulate personal rights and obligations that will be met during marriage. The contract usually last for the duration of the marriage, but you can decide for it to expire at some set number of years. Note also that a prenup only becomes effective the moment you get married in ceremony.

Marriage agreements are recognized in Texas provided they are drafted properly. More importantly, having the meaningful conversations about money, retirement, intimacy, family, and children at the beginning of your relationship is the best possible way to avoid a break up in the future. If you can successfully navigate all the critical elements of how you envision your life together, your chances of success for a rock solid happy ever after increase dramatically.

Do I Need a Prenup?

Sometimes there are ways to solve an issue that don’t involve the complexity, time, or expense of drafting a contract. It’s possible that whatever you’re concerned about is already addressed in the state statues, or, can be handled by another approach. For example, if you’re concerned about protecting an inheritance, a prenup is likely not needed. Inherited property in Texas always has a separate property character before or after marriage. One party can intentionally gift away the property but it otherwise belongs solely to the person who inherited it. There may be other issues in this scenario, however, that would require a marital contract, such as, whether there will be any income generated or derived from this separate property. If so, this income is considered community property and a prenup would be necessary to keep it separate.

Another common issue for couples concerns the income earned during marriage. In Texas, if you don’t wish to share your income with your spouse during marriage, you’ll need a prenup.

These are just a couple of the many examples why you should discuss your personal circumstances about what to include in a prenup during an initial consult with Cindy.

How Much Does a Prenup Cost?

The more accurate question may be, “How much does it cost you NOT to get one?” Once you’ve established the need for a prenup the cost of drafting can vary widely.

Much depends on the complexity of the contract. I encourage you to consider the cost of drafting a prenup as if it were an insurance policy whose terms include all aspects of your life together. Just as in any insurance policy, the premium will depend in part on the value of the asset that it insures. It is a very different exercise to draft a marital contract for an estate valued at $100,000 dollars than one valued at $100 million, or more.

Whatever the cost it’s a small price to pay for security. If you were buying a house and were told that there was a 50% chance of it burning down, would you buy fire insurance? You bet.

One of the big benefits of a prenuptial agreement is that – if drafted and executed properly – it will mitigate the time and expense of litigation in the event of divorce.

Note that some attorneys charge a percentage of the assets that are the subject of the contract, others a flat fee, or an hourly rate. Be prepared to pay several thousand dollars as a starting point.

My rates are fair, competitive, and reasonable. Every prenuptial agreement is unique as is every relationship. After an initial consultation to discuss your overall expectations for the marriage contract and your personal estate plans, I’ll give you an estimate of the cost.