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Texas premarital pressures include financial agreements

How many Fort Bend fiancés wanted to cancel a wedding but didn't have the courage to disappoint relatives and lose a reception hall deposit? An alternate question from a Texas family law judge: How many fiancés agree to prenuptial agreements to avoid backing out of marriage plans?

An answer to the first question may be difficult to get unless spouses have divorced. What still-married person would admit marrying under social or financial pressure? The second question could come up during estate or divorce litigation when prenuptial agreements are relevant. The answer would help determine the financial agreement's validity.

A judge does not want to hear that nonrefundable wedding expenses trumped a fiancé's good sense. Prenups signed by parties who are hurried or forced can be invalidated by a court. Few reasons compel a judge to throw out a prenuptial agreement, but evidence of coercion is one of them.

Divorce lawyers suggest settling premarital contracts no later than a month before a wedding takes place. Judges also raise eyebrows over prenuptial contracts drafted by a single lawyer. The best interests of two people can conflict in a contract. Fiancés should employ separate attorneys to review the agreement.

Couples can avoid pre-wedding pressure by waiting to sign a financial contract. Postnuptial agreements can include the same terms as a prenup for marital asset ownership and distribution. The only difference is when the contracts are signed.

Legal advisers recommend that married couples revisit a prenuptial agreement regularly, about every five years. The contract can be modified to accommodate life changes.

Experts also remind clients that wills do not override prenuptial agreements. In other words, a will that is contrary to the terms of a prenuptial agreement will not cancel out the contract.

Parties are urged to engage in straightforward financial discussions with married partners or spouses--to-be. The next step is consulting individual attorneys before signing any financial agreement.

Source: family.lifegoesstrong.com, "On Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements," Karen Springen, April 7, 2013

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