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Why Prenups Aren't Just for the Rich and Famous How can the ordinary person benefit from a pre-nup?

Marriage is one of the most serious contracts you will enter into during your lifetime, but unlike other contracts - think mortgages, car loans, and employment agreements- the terms aren’t in writing. That’s why we encourage every married couple to enter into a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.

Marital agreements get a bad rap because the only time most people hear about them is when a celebrity or ultra-wealthy couple is getting divorced. However, being rich and famous is not a prerequisite for entering into a marital contract. Nor do you need to be getting divorced to find a pre- or post-nuptial agreement useful.

Here are a few examples of situations normal people may find themselves in where a marital agreement would be useful: • Business owners and partners should always get a prenuptial agreement. If not, his or her new spouse could become liable for business debts. In addition, if the business owner were to die without an estate plan in place, the spouse could be forced to take on the role of business owner or partner.
• If one or both partners have children from a prior relationship, a marital agreement can help ensure that commitments made to those children are known and honored by the soon-to-be-step-parent.
• If either partner is bringing a large amount of money, or a large amount of debt, to the relationship, a pre-marital agreement can shield that asset or liability from the other spouse. Nearly everyone today has some debt before marriage - be it a credit card or college loans - so this is a real issue that needs to be dealt with that older generations just didn’t have to think about.
• Other assets can also be mentioned in prenuptial agreements. For example, a woman might have inherited a share in a family-owned vacation home at the shore. The house was to be shared by the woman and her sisters and then passed down to the woman’s future children and her nieces and nephews. By putting information about the cabin in her prenuptial agreement, she can ensure that the wishes of her family are carried out.
Having an open conversation about assets, including businesses and property, debts, and children is something all couples should be doing. Writing a prenuptial agreement just takes that conversation one step further by putting it into writing. If you aren’t discussing these serious topics with you future partner you are doing more to damage your relationship than the supposed “curse” that comes with creating a prenuptial agreement ever will.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of prenuptial agreements, call our Austin family law and matrimonial attorneys today at (512) 948-3688 to set up a confidential consultation.