People often think that prenuptial agreements are only for celebrities and those with a considerable fortune. Here’s a little secret from a San Antonio family law attorney: everyone needs a prenup. You do not have to be rich or famous to protect yourself when you enter a marriage. While having significant assets is a reason to get a premarital agreement, there are others.
A couple may want to get a premarital agreement if one spouse has a significant amount of debt. A person going into their second marriage will also want to consider such an agreement if he or she has children. You will want to discuss your options with a San Antonio divorce attorney to help you determine the best route to take and what should be included in your premarital agreement.
Reasons you may need a premarital agreement
Before getting married, you and your future spouse will sit down with your attorneys and craft an agreement that both parties agree on and is mutually beneficial. There are various reasons you may be considering a premarital agreement such as:
- It is your second marriage
- There are a significant amount of assets being brought into the marriage
- There are high amounts of debt that one spouse is bringing in
- You own part of a business
- You have children from another marriage
- You want to protect your spouse from risky investment
- You want a barrier against risky spending
You should look at a premarital agreement as a way to financially plan your future together. Even if you do not have a lot of money now but plan to build a business in the future, a premarital agreement is beneficial. You will be able to protect current and future assets. If you believe that you do not have the entire financial picture for your soon-to-be-spouse, this might be another reason to consider a premarital agreement. During the process, all assets, debts, and finances must be disclosed.
A premarital agreement may also benefit your children, your shareholders, or anyone else with a financial stake in your future. Consider the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates, and the concerns regarding the Foundation – or the effects on Amazon when MacKenzie Scott started selling off her shares. In both cases, a premarital agreement may have helped quell the concerns of investors and shareholders because they would have known upfront how those entities would be affected. Adult children may also feel more secure knowing that information.
How does a postmarital agreement work?
While a premarital agreement is an agreement between two future spouses, a postmarital agreement happens after the two parties are married. This may be a difficult conversation to have since you are already married and have a clear financial picture. However, there are often times where issues can arise, and a postmarital agreement can help to resolve them now and in the future.
Premarital and postmarital agreements cover the same ground, and can be tailored to a couple’s needs. It is important to work with your San Antonio premarital agreement attorney to come to an agreement that works for both of you.
What can be included in a premarital agreement?
A premarital agreement can cover the following topics:
- How property is handled during a separation
- Spousal support
- Marital and separate assets distribution
- Outstanding debt
- What is to happen if one spouse dies
- What happens to beloved pets
- Retirement plans
- How property can be handled during the marriage such as selling, transferring, and using
While the agreement can cover a range of topics it is important to note that there are some issues that are off-limits and cannot be enforced with a prenup. These are issues such as child support and child custody. You should also take into account your will and estate planning as the two documents should work in tandem and do not contradict each other. An attorney can help.
Are there reasons a premarital agreement can be unenforceable?
For a premarital or postmarital agreement to be legally binding, it must be written and signed by both parties. Oral agreements do not suffice. If there is only one signature, it will also not be legally binding.
If one spouse signed involuntarily or under duress, the agreement can be unenforceable. It can also be unenforceable if one spouse did not declare all of their assets. In the case of a modification, the original premarital agreement becomes null and void. Both parties must agree to the modification in writing.
Do you need a premarital agreement?
The thought of a premarital agreement used to mean that the couple was setting themselves up for failure. The reality is that while uncomfortable to discuss, they are intended to protect both parties if things change in the course of their marriage. This is also a great way to have an open discussion about each of your financial pictures. Think of prenups as a way to set yourself up for a trusting, successful marriage.
That said, this can be new and difficult terrain to navigate, which is why you will need an experienced San Antonio premarital agreement attorney to ensure your rights are truly protected. If you do divorce and you did not have a premarital agreement in place, it would be up to the courts to make decisions about your future based on the state guidelines set for property division and other issues. Contact Grable Grimshaw PLLC at 210-761-5687, or complete our contact form to discuss your options whether it be a pre- or postmarital agreement you are looking for in San Antonio.