It’s very anti-romantic to tell someone you love them and want to spend your life with them and then begin planning for the divorce, so I develop a dialogue with my clients, explaining to them how to broach the subject; how to explain to their future spouse that they have a business or something and they don’t want it to be on the table at all. Or sometimes a parent insists on a premarital agreement to protect their children. It’s a lot easier to discuss a premarital agreement after someone’s been divorced than it is for the first time.
Many people have come in and I told them, they’re too young to bother, since they don’t have anything to protect; just be married and deal with it later. At worst, they’ll lose only half of what would be their separate assets anyway, so what’s the big deal? Half of nothing is nothing.
More people who inquire about a premarital agreement end up getting one because, to me, there is one way to do a premarital agreement, that’s to do it right with the disclosures and the negotiations and the drafts and the execution. It is a rigorous negotiation so there can be no questions later, no claims that the other party didn’t know or understand what they signed. However, don’t come to me two days before the wedding and ask for this; I know the drill; it has to be done as a serious, legal agreement and not as an afterthought. If you want to put off the wedding for several months, I’ll be happy to talk to you.
What Texas has very clearly is a very well-established system of having both pre-marital agreement and marital agreement. You can agree to do almost anything in Texas, as long as you do it right, meaning full disclosure and an enforceable agreement drawn up properly. Specific parts of the Texas Family Code deal with this, they have been well-tested and we know the drill on agreements; they are made to be enforced, and that’s important to regular marriages, and it’s also important to gay marriage.
How Long Does It Take to Put Together a Pre-Marital Agreement?
You want to draft the agreement over a period of time that’s relevant to when the wedding is and have the agreement executed well before you get into wedding mode. A good example is the premarital agreement might be after the date is set, but well before invitations are sent out.
This is like estate planning, in particular, and people sometimes do serious pre-divorce planning without their spouse knowing. Typically, wage earners who will be the breadwinners for the house will pay off all the debt they can prior to filing for a divorce, while the dependent spouse would typically get all the medical procedures and everything else that needed to be done out of the way prior to that so that the debt is incurred prior to the filing, but every case is different, which is why it’s important to get off on the right foot with a high level consultation with an experienced person, even if an associate or less expensive person ends up doing the lion’s share of the case work after that.
Other lawyers hire me to come in because I’m a very quick study; I can look at a situation and quickly tell someone what is likely to happen or what the steps are; I know my business that well. I’ve had pretty good success doing that and I hope that, to people who read this, it might ring true to them and they may see fit to pay for that consultation, instead of going to a website that says they’ll give a free divorce consultation. My idea is, if someone knows the value of their services is exactly zero, then they’ll tell you something I’m not willing to; I know my services have significant value.
For more information on Pre-Marital Agreements, an initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (214) 880-7500 today.