Establishing Strong And Fair Premarital Agreements
Many family law attorneys seldom have the opportunity to discuss premarital agreements with clients since many people fear that asking their future spouse to execute such an agreement may be off-putting to their future mate. When this question arises. However, we often respond by asking, “how well does your future spouse trust you”? By stating the obvious, we are in no way wishing to appear to be negative but merely to impart sound and objective advice.
It is our job at Izzo & Associates, PLLC, as seasoned family law attorneys to foresee future potential difficulties to protect our clients, and, in some cases, we can suggest the implementation of a premarital agreement before a new marriage. As a practical matter, such an agreement can even instill confidence in many of our clients that their new spouse is indeed in love with them and not their assets.
How We Help Our Clients
As a specialized family law firm, we interact with many divorcing clients. family law cases are guided by the Texas Family Code, which espouses the Children’s Best Interest Standard. Therefore, our family law judges, especially when children are involved, want to keep adult litigants as stable as possible throughout the process, to transition separating adults toward moving on with their lives and reducing the negative impacts of their separation on their children.
Specifically, as a matter of course, our staff makes it a point to explain this important concept to our divorce clients so that they do not appear to the court as being mean-spirited, or vengeful. Such an appearance never benefits our clients, and it can and does lead to poor final rulings. It is important to note, however, that even in most child custody disputes, the division of the litigant’s marital estate still causes the divorce to blow up.
How You Can Benefit From These Agreements
Many law firms often overlook the additional benefits of prenuptial agreements. When advising any client with a sizable estate and income stream, whether they are fairly youthful or elderly, it may be very beneficial that upon their remarriage, they should consider executing a premarital agreement. If the client has existing children, grandchildren, friends, or even charitable organizations for who they wish to bequeath a large portion of their estate upon their death, their wishes might not be able to be honored without such an agreement.
A premarital agreement allows a couple planning to be married to agree in writing on exactly how they wish to characterize future income, the acquisition of assets, and the responsibility for debts that will be created during their marriage. As an example, the couple may agree that each spouse’s income during the marriage will remain his or her sole and separate property; one spouse will solely own the marital residence, or a plan is established as to how what would normally be joint bills, such as utilities, will be paid, and by whom.
It is also possible in a premarital agreement for the parties to still anticipate the creation of specific community property and/or to allow for both parties to deposit funds into a joint bank account for their family’s common use. Such agreements also generally spell out exactly how any community assets or debts that may be created will subsequently be divided in the event of a divorce. Therefore, in such a case, the terms laid out and executed at the onset of their marriage in their premarital agreement will govern the division of all existing assets and debts at the time of a divorce, presumably eliminating the need to battle over them as part of a contested lawsuit.
Texas law was impacted several years ago through the appellate process, which created revised standards for what are currently considered to be legally binding premarital and postnuptial agreements. We responded to said changes by researching and adding new sections to our firm’s existing premarital agreements to strengthen them in case of a lower court challenge or an appeal. One specific feature of said changes involves the coupling of our premarital agreements with a Postnuptial Ratification Agreement.
The main difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement is when the agreement was finalized. Due to this, their legal enforceability can be more challenging to defend in court. Our attorneys always want prospective clients considering a postnuptial agreement to be carefully advised of the significant pitfalls of relying on one.
Protect Your Future Today
If you want to be sure you and your spouse are prepared for whatever may come in the future, contact us for your initial consultation. Call our lawyers at 512-982-1161 or email us here and take the first step in defending your best interests today.