Should I Agree to a Prenuptial Agreement?

Today, I received an email from a new client who wanted to know whether or not she should agree to a prenuptial agreement.  It became apparent that she knew very little about prenuptial agreements and was basing her concerns on what she has hearing about other people’s experiences.  So, I want to use today’s post to explain what a prenuptial agreement is and the pros and cons of entering into one.

A prenuptial agreement is sometimes referred to as a premarital agreement.  It is a type of contract that a soon-to-be-married couple agrees to that establishes the property rights of each person should divorce occur down the road.  Prenuptial agreements are common when wealth is involved, when one party owns a business, or if there has been a history of divorce in either family.

Pros regarding prenuptial agreements.

  • A prenuptial agreement clearly defines who is entitled to what should the couple end up divorcing in the future.  Without such an agreement, if a couple files for divorce, Texas family law (a.k.a. “community property” law)determines how property will be divided.
  • By discussing finances prior to marriage, it provides an opportunity for both people to understand their individual financial pictures, express any concerns they may have and to come to an agreement that they believe to be fair.

Cons regarding prenuptial agreements.

  • The person who initiates a discussion regarding a prenuptial agreement risks offending his or her intended.  It may cause a lack of trust in the relationship or become a sensitive topic anytime there is a financial disagreement. Many people find them “unromantic” and feel that they predict the demise of the relationship.
  • If the suggestion of a prenuptial agreement occurs near the time of engagement or the actual wedding day, it could take away from the joy of the special occasion.  It could be interpreted that finances are more important than the relationship.
  • In a case in which a spouse believes that he or she has been pressured into signing an agreement or wasn’t given a fair amount of time to think about the agreement prior to signing, a court may find the agreement to be invalid.  There are means of avoiding this possibility, but a consultation with a family law attorney well-versed in prenuptial agreements is a good start.

If you have been asked to consider signing a prenuptial agreement, you need to acquire legal counsel.  Our firm can assist you in determining whether or not a prenuptial agreement is in your best interest.  We at Houston Divorce Counsel want to ensure that the agreement is fair to you and that it doesn’t contain items that are out of compliance with Texas Law.