Whether this is your first marriage or you have been married before, a lot of things will change when you say, “I do.” Even for couples who have lived together previously, getting married has implications far beyond giving you new options on your annual tax return.

Due to these implications, for many individuals and couples, it is a smart decision to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a binding contract between soon-to-be spouses that establishes certain terms and conditions regarding each spouse’s rights and responsibilities during – and if necessary, after – their marriage. Prenuptial agreements can cover a broad range of topics and marrying couples frequently use them to address issues such as:

  • Augmentation of their respective estate plans
  • Ownership of property and businesses brought into the marriage
  • Ownership of property and businesses acquired during the marriage
  • Payment of pre-marriage and post-marriage debts
  • Spending, saving, and responsibility for paying bills
  • Seeking professional help to resolve disputes when necessary

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Right for You?

So, should you consider a prenuptial agreement? You may want to speak with an attorney about preparing a prenuptial agreement if:

  • You own a business. If you own a business and are preparing to get married, you could use a prenuptial agreement to clarify your expectations regarding your spouse’s role in the business, and to avoid questions regarding ownership if you get divorced.
  • Your fiancé is in debt. If your fiancé has debts for which you are not willing to take responsibility if your marriage ends, this is something you could clarify in a prenuptial agreement. Note, however, that other legal documents (like a mortgage) that you sign during your marriage could create joint obligations that override the terms of your agreement.
  • You have certain estate planning needs. For many spouses, a prenuptial agreement can be an important component of their overall estate plan. Depending on the estate plans that you and your fiancé each have in place (if any), or if you plan to jointly address your estate planning needs after you get married, there may be certain issues that would be best addressed in a prenuptial agreement.
  • You or your fiancé has been married before. If either you or your fiancé has previously been married, signing a prenuptial agreement can take on additional importance. Child support, alimony and inheritance issues are just some of the considerations to keep in mind.
  • You and your fiancé tend to disagree. Disagreements are part of a healthy relationship, but fundamental disagreements can signal the beginning of the end as well. If you want to make sure that you and your partner will do everything you can to resolve your differences before deciding to split, you could include an obligation to mediate or seek marriage counseling in your prenuptial agreement.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There are child-rearing and other considerations that may be made part of a prenuptial agreement as well. To learn more about the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements, feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Speak With a Family Law Attorney in Confidence

The family lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC provide experienced representation for preparing prenuptial agreements and addressing other family-related legal matters. To schedule a free, confidential consultation at our offices in McKinney, TX, please call (214) 726-1450 or request an appointment online today.