Prenuptial agreements were once tools utilized only by the incredibly wealthy or influential. However, they have become increasingly common legal resources for adults of all backgrounds across the U.S.
In Texas, thousands of couples every year start their marriages by first negotiating a thorough prenuptial agreement. They discuss their expectations for the marriage, make clear delineations about their resources and explain what will happen should they divorce. Most people would very likely benefit from the negotiations that are required to draft a prenuptial agreement. Many couples confirm that having these discussions ultimately made their relationships stronger.
There are two questions, in particular, that people may need to answer to determine if crafting a prenuptial agreement would be a particularly smart move, given the unique nature of their circumstances.
Do one or both parties come to the marriage with substantial assets or valuable property?
People marry at all different stages in life. Some people remarry in their 50s or 60s when they already have significant retirement savings and a home for which they no longer carry a mortgage. Others may have an ownership interest in a family ranch that they share with their siblings, a small business that they started or an inheritance.
Individuals who already have significant personal assets will often benefit from prenuptial agreements, as they can clarify exactly what will happen with their property during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Those who anticipate acquiring certain property during the marriage, including those who intend to start a business or who expect to receive an inheritance, may also benefit from prenuptial agreements discussing those resources.
Do one or both parties have children from another relationship?
Prenuptial agreements are also very powerful tools for those starting a blended family. If even just one of the parties has children from a prior relationship, the needs of those children require careful consideration. A prenuptial agreement can make it very clear what resources a spouse has a claim to and what someone intends to preserve for their children. Those starting blended families often combine a thorough prenuptial agreement with estate planning to ensure that they have certain resources set aside and protections in place for their children from a prior relationship.
Prenuptial agreements are no longer the controversy they used to be and can even set people up for a healthier dynamic during marriage. Evaluating one’s personal circumstances carefully may help individuals determine whether they are in particular need of a prenuptial agreement for their protection or the protection of their loved ones.