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When is a Texas prenuptial contract a good idea?

No one enters a Texas marriage believing it will end. Couples are optimistic before a wedding, but that doesn't mean they are unaware of divorce statistics. An increasing number of fianc?s are considering prenuptial agreements.

Contracts to divide marital assets were once common only among wealthy and well-known couples. Prenuptial agreements are widely used today to help couples prepare for an event that may never occur - divorce - and an experience that most certainly will -- death.

Not all couples benefit from a prenuptial contract. First-time married couples without children and few assets may not require an agreement. On the other hand, fianc?s with substantial personal assets, previous marriages and children would be prime candidates for a prenup.

A person who intends to remarry may do so later in life after accumulating real estate, investments, retirement savings or a business. Assets brought into marriage are considered separate and personal unless the assets are commingled with marital property.

Prenuptial agreements allow couples to decide how property and debts will be divided in the events of divorce or death. Prenups are written in advance of the full commitment of marriage. Practical financial decisions are made without the strong interference of emotions associated with divorce.

Texas is a community property state where spouses receive a 50-50 split of assets and liabilities during divorce. A prenuptial contract can change that ratio and address support and child guardianship issues.

Prenuptial agreements must be agreeable and fair to both parties. Separate lawyers are recommended to negotiate the contract, which may or may not have an expiration date. No one can be forced into an agreement. Certain conditions like fraud can cause a court to invalidate the document.

While asset protection is the main reason couples want prenuptial agreements, other issues may be included in the agreement. Texas attorneys remind couples that prenup contents regarding spousal or child support may not override state laws.

Source:  channel4000.com, "Getting remarried: Do you need a pre-nup?" Sheri Hack, May. 31, 2013

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