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Hedging bets against the future: Texas prenuptial contracts

Fort Bend County fianc?(e)s who don't sign prenuptial agreements often feel the legal documents foreshadow marital doom. How can you plan to divide assets you have yet to own? Why discuss ending a marriage before it has even begun?

Some Texas couples and many matrimonial attorneys view prenuptial agreements differently. The agreements are only effective in the event divorce occurs. If a couple marries and stays together through life, as most spouses hope to do, the contract seems unnecessary.

Regrettably, even the most romantic fianc?(e)s cannot dismiss the reality of divorce statistics. The odds are about even that a marriage will succeed or fail.

Prenuptials can be a practical approach to marriage. The contracts reflect terms that fianc?(e)s could not avoid as divorcing spouses -- separate and marital property, spousal support and asset valuation and division.

Texas couples who do not have prenuptial contracts are expected to share marital property equally under community property laws. One or both marital partners may feel this arrangement is unfair, a situation that prenuptials can help correct.

Experts suggest fianc?(e)s seek legal and financial advice before signing a prenuptial contract. A full understanding of separate and joint property laws is necessary before division can be considered. The parties must understand what assets they retain as individuals during marriage and negotiate the ownership of all property that does not fall under that category.

Asset valuation must be projected into the future -- a job few fianc?(e)s can handle without a specialist's help. Spouses-to-be must also realize how a prenuptial agreement impacts personal finances in the long run. Terms that seem agreeable during a fianc?(e)'s career-building 30s may not fit well decades from now in retirement.

Which Fort Bend couples need prenuptial agreements? The answer is all couples who want to enter marriage with full knowledge of the property they own and share, whether or not their union beats the divorce odds.

Source: investmentnews.com, "Murdoch aside, advisers say most wealthy whiff on prenups" Darla Mercado, Jun. 14, 2013

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