In the past, broaching the subject of entering into a prenuptial agreement was often met with a range of strong emotions by a future spouse. Today, however, prenuptial agreements are more common and met with considerably less hostility than in the past. How do you know, however, if you should have one in place prior to your marriage? Dallas divorce lawyer Rita M. Boyd explains who might need to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement.
What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
To decide whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your circumstances, you need to first understand what can and cannot be covered in one. The parties to a pre-nuptial agreement in Texas may contract to any of the following:
The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property. The disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event. The modification or elimination of spousal support. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
It is important to note that one area that cannot be covered in a prenuptial agreement are the issues related to minor children of the marriage. Child support, for example, cannot be contracted to in the agreement because the right to financial support belongs to the child, not the parent. Moreover, all issues relating to the children must be decided using the best interest of the child.
When Is a Prenuptial Agreement Something to Consider?
While a prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement, can be an extremely beneficial document to have in place for some couples, not all couples need one. The best way to know if a prenuptial agreement is in your best interest is to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. In general, however, you may wish to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement if any of the following apply:
- Either or both parties have significant assets. Knowing how assets will be divided in the event the marriage ends is often reason enough to sign a prenup; however, this is particularly true if there is a considerable disparity with regard to the wealth of both parties.
- Either or both parties anticipate receiving a substantial inheritance. Inherited assets are considered separate property; however, they can inadvertently be converted to marital property by co-mingling. Including them in a prenup ensures that they remain with the beneficiary.
- Either or both parties have children from a previous relationship. If your estate is treated as an intestate estate after your death your children from a previous marriage may not receive what you intended them to receive. Entering into a prenuptial agreement prevents that from happening.
- You are concerned about the amount of debt your future spouse has coming into the marriage. Some debts of one spouse become the debts of the other spouse after marriage. If one spouse already has substantial debts, a prenup can protect the innocent spouse from being held legally responsible for the debts.
- You want peace of mind in the event of death or divorce. No one plans to get divorced and most of us hope to live forever. In reality, however, divorce is common, and death is inevitable. To provide peace of mind in either situation, sign a prenup ahead of time.
Contact a Dallas Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a prenuptial agreement in Texas, contact an experienced Dallas divorce lawyer at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.