Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
It must be said that prenuptial agreements do not have the best reputation. Many people think these contracts are nothing more than a mechanism for selfishly protecting one's financial interests and are a real thumbing of the nose to the marriage itself. This take on things, however, completely misses the mark. Prenuptial agreements can play many vital roles that are not the least bit shady.
People who are entering into second marriages often have very good reasons for requesting a prenuptial agreement. For instance, if you have children from another marriage, a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that you protect their inheritance. Further, people who are embarking on second marriages tend to have amassed more – and more complicated – assets, which makes a prenuptial agreement that addresses the division of these assets in the event of a divorce that much more beneficial.
A Prenuptial Agreement Can Augment Your Estate Planning
Your prenuptial agreement is also a tool that can augment your estate planning efforts. If you die with a valid prenuptial agreement in place, it will secure the distribution of your estate in the manner you delineate in the prenup. While your widowed spouse can contest your will, it is much more challenging to fight the instructions outlined in a prenup that they agreed to in the first place.
A Prenuptial Agreement Can Help Protect Your Spouse from Your Debt
Prenuptial agreements are not always about protecting one's wealth. If you have an excessive amount of debt that you do not want to fall to your spouse upon your death, a prenuptial agreement can help you with that. The debt that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple and that is in both of your names, however, cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement because the third-party company is not a party to the agreement and will very likely hold both of you responsible for repayment.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Do
Prenuptial agreements can serve many important roles, but there are certain things they cannot do, including:
A prenuptial agreement cannot address child support in the event of a divorce unless it specifies an amount that exceeds Texas's child support calculation.
A prenuptial agreement cannot include terms that are not legal.
A prenuptial agreement cannot deprive a spouse of pension rights.
Finally, it is essential to point out that a prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage, which goes into effect upon marriage. When there is very little time between the two events, it can be interpreted as coercive, which decreases the contract's legal integrity.