With a prenuptial agreement, a couple can decide important issues regarding marital property and alimony before they ever get married. In the event of divorce, a valid prenuptial agreement will be available if either side wants to enforce it. Prenups also have a role to play in death—for example, a couple can lay the groundwork for what a surviving spouse will inherit.
Call Tad Nelson & Associates if you have questions about prenuptial agreements. Our Galveston county family law attorneys review some of the most persistent myths about these agreements.
Myth #1: Only Wealthy People Need Prenuptial Agreements
That’s simply not true. Historically, wealthy people used prenups to protect themselves in the event of divorce. Donald Trump, for example, has used prenuptial agreements for his marriages.
Anyone could benefit from a prenup, especially in the following situations:
- You have a small business. Your business—which you built with your sweat and tears—could be considered community property when you divorce, which means your spouse could get some of its equity. You can use a prenup to characterize it as your separate property.
- You have children from a previous relationship. You might be marrying for a second or third time and have other children from prior relationships. You can help protect their inheritance with a premarital agreement.
- You could come into an inheritance. Depending on the facts, your inheritance could ultimately count as community property. You can protect it as your separate property with a prenuptial agreement.
- You want to minimize risk. Some people want to know what will happen in the event of divorce, and you can use a prenup to achieve peace of mind.
Myth #2: A Prenup is Unnecessary if I Title Property in My Own Name
That’s wrong. Any property you acquire while married is typically community property. It doesn’t matter how you title the asset. For example, if you use your wages earned while married to buy a boat, it will be community property even if you put it solely in your name.
The same is true of money you put in a bank account. Maybe only your name is on the account. But it will be community property just the same.
Myth #3: I Can Use an Online Template to Create My Own Prenuptial Agreement
We strongly recommend against doing that. A lawyer provides many benefits:
- We can help you think about what to include in your prenuptial agreement.
- A lawyer can help you disclose all your financial assets—which is virtually required if you want a judge to uphold the agreement in court.
- Our legal team can help you understand what not to include. For example, you can’t include child custody arrangements.
- A lawyer will draft a prenuptial agreement so that its terms are crystal clear, which reduces the odds of any litigation in the event of divorce.
- Using a fill-in-the-blank example might sound like a great way to save some money. But you could potentially jeopardize your future if you don’t create the agreement correctly.
Myth #4: You Can’t Change a Premarital Agreement
You can change it by agreement. In fact, if you divorce, neither side is required to enforce the agreement. Some people with prenuptial agreements end up agreeing to a marital settlement agreement that differs in key ways from the terms of their prenup. However, you can lean on the prenuptial agreement as a bargaining chip.
Myth #5: You Are Dooming Your Marriage with a Prenup
Actually, we think these agreements help each side go into the marriage with their eyes wide open. Instead of being confused about the state of your finances, each side makes full disclosure of their assets and debts. This helps them realistically view financial problems—e.g., perhaps one spouse has trouble saving or spends too much. You can also address financial problems early in the marriage, which could strengthen your relationship moving forward.
Myth #6: Judges Won’t Enforce a Prenuptial Agreement
In rare situations, a judge might refuse to enforce a prenuptial agreement. Under Section 4.006 of the Texas Family Code, there are only two reasons:
- You did not sign it voluntarily, or
- The premarital agreement is unconscionable, and you did not receive reasonable financial disclosures from your fiancé(e).
Otherwise, judges will enforce a prenuptial agreement that is signed by both parties.
Call Us to Get Started
Divorce is always a possibility, and premarital agreements are becoming a routine part of many wedding negotiations. To discuss whether to use one, please call Tad Nelson & Associates today to speak with our Galveston or League City family law attorney.