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Are Texas prenuptial agreements selfish or smart?

Premarital financial agreements were once considered forerunners of doom. How could a couple planning a lifetime marriage even think about such dark subjects as property division, divorce or death?

Many Texas fiancés now realize that, despite sincere wedding day promises, divorce rates are high. Prenuptial agreements are contracts spouses never hope to activate. The legal documents are a practical solution to avoid drawn-out marital asset disputes in the event of divorce or death.

Attitudes about marriage have changed. Many people put off marriage until they have solidified careers and gathered assets - property that could be designated as individual, not marital assets, in a prenuptial contract.

Prenuptial agreements protect premarital wealth and personal bonds. A business started before marriage can be separate property. Assets meant for children from a previous marriage may be preserved.

Asset division plans in advance of a wedding also save the litigation costs of unnecessarily-protracted divorce disputes.

Some couples wait to come to a property division or postnuptial agreement until after marriage. Matrimonial lawyers say reconciliations after a near-divorce often prompt couples to commit to a financial agreement.

Attorneys recommend prenuptial agreements for couples with substantial individual assets or disparate wealth. Contracts provide guidance for the management and control of shared property and resolve ownership issues. Prenups often are aligned with estate planning documents.

Texas prenuptial agreements follow state divorce and property division laws. Laws in other states may override some of the agreement's provisions, when spouses file for divorce beyond state borders.

Spouses have the option to renegotiate a prenuptial agreement after marriage. Postnuptial contracts nullify any previous financial arrangements.

Engaged couples often wonder about timing for prenuptial agreements. Attorneys say preparation for asset negotiations often takes several months. Last-minute contracts are inadvisable.

A consultation with a family law attorney provides answers to general and unique questions about prenuptial contracts to help fiancés determine whether an agreement is right for them.

Source:, "Why You Should Consider a Prenup," Andrea Murad, Feb. 4, 2013

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