Spring is here and wedding bells are beginning to ring throughout Dallas. Engaged couples are buying rings, planning what kind of ceremony to have and where to spend the honeymoon. And some are even having a conversation that might have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
That conversation involves what will happen to the couple’s money and other assets in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements have long been considered something only the extremely wealthy need to discuss, and then only out of sheer necessity. Why, some Dallas residents may wonder, would a couple want to think about the possibility of a divorce at the same time they’re planning for the happiest day of their lives?
Part of the reason more couples are looking at prenuptial agreements today is that marriage isn’t what it was when their parents were young. Many men and women postpone marriage until they are well established in their careers and have acquired substantial assets – a home, a car, perhaps even some retirement accounts. Others may be entering into their second marriage and have children from the previous marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a way to protect their children’s financial well-being in the event of a divorce.
Fortunately, here in Texas, couples who can’t bring themselves to have this discussion before the marriage still have an option B available: a postnuptial agreement. These agreements can be made after a couple enters a marriage, and can apply to marital property obtained over the course of the marriage. They can also help keep one partner’s debts and other financial obligations from impacting the other, should they decide to end the marriage.
Couples considering one of these options may wish to seek out separate legal representation, in order to ensure the discussions stay neutral and both sides have an independent advocate. They should also remember that a prenuptial agreement isn’t a sign of mistrust or control – it is a sign of respect and concern for each other’s protection, no matter what happens.