Using a prenuptial agreement can help couples define responsibilities and avert potential disputes.
Many people here in Houston believe that prenuptial agreements are only for those couples with a large amount of assets to protect. While prenuptial agreements can serve this purpose, this is only one of the many benefits that this type of agreement can provide.
First it is important to understand what a prenuptial agreement really is. This document is a legal agreement with guidelines that both parties agree to. It is recommended that each party should have separate legal counsel to make sure that his or her rights are protected. Couples should think of a prenup in the same manner they might look at a business plan. In the event that the couple decides to part ways, the prenup can be used to eliminate unnecessary disputes and legal battles.
The Texas Family Code states that property acquired by spouses during the duration of the marriage is considered community property. However, it should be remembered that debt is also considered community property and spouses may find themselves responsible for the spending habits of their ex.
According to the Business Insider, a prenuptial agreement can be used to define whose income will be used for specific debts. For example, in the event that the wife owns a home prior to the marriage, the agreement may specify that her income will be used to pay the mortgage on that home while the husband’s income may be used to pay a student loan in his name. An agreement can also specify that each spouse will accept financial responsibility for personal credit card debt.
When two people from different religious and cultural backgrounds decide to get married and start a family, they may clash when it comes to how those children should be raised. Rather than wait until the child is born to have that discussion, couples should talk about these issues before the marriage and then set down their decisions in a prenuptial agreement.
For instance, a prenuptial agreement may state that children will be raised in the same faith as the mother or it may set up a plan where holidays from both parents’ religions will be celebrated. It may set up an agreement that children will be exposed to a parent’s culture so that they can learn about their family history. Maybe a person is Native American and wants the children to be taught Native American beliefs and traditions. By putting it down in writing, the couple has already tackled that issue and avoided potential conflict.
Taking care of a household can be taxing on a spouse, especially if the other is not pulling his or her own weight. This is another benefit a prenuptial agreement can provide. A prenuptial agreement can assign certain responsibilities to each spouse such as who will pay the utilities, who will pay for groceries and who will pay the mortgage. It can also set up a plan where spouses agree to split household costs down the middle, again preventing unnecessary arguments after the new couple sets up house.
When people set up a prenuptial agreement, they should keep in mind, that this agreement can be renegotiated. As a married couple embarks on a new path together, they may experience changes in their economic or cultural situation and need to re-evaluate the agreement. Whether a couple is considering a prenuptial agreement or needs to revise an existing one, they may find it beneficial to speak with an attorney.