Pre Nup Q & A

It makes sense for most couples—not just the wealthy—to have a premarital agreement. 50 % of marriages end by divorce (the other half by death).  The reasons for a prenup are touched upon in this Q and A. In Texas, premarital Agreements are presumed enforceable.  But what to put in them can be from the very simple–“I want the earnings and growth of my stock account to remain mine” to extremely complex.  If you’re one of the half of married people whose marriage ends in divorce, a prenup can help make the divorce far less expensive and less strenuous; after all, the couple has already reached an agreement on at least some things. A consultation with  our experienced lawyers can show the rules of the road that you are or can be dealing with, and is well worth the reduced fee consultation so you can truly know what the parameters of you possibilities are.

So here’s a couple of pointers.

Q: What is broken down on a prenuptial agreement?

A: A premarital agreement means an agreement between prospective spouses which is entered into before the marriage and which goes into effect on the date of marriage.  It is a contract that states what is “his,” “hers” and “theirs.”

Prenups identify who owns the assets and debts, and may dictate financial support such as alimony.  It can dictate the amount of time a party will remain in the home once someone asks for a separation. It also provides clarification about the assets and debts if one spouse dies.

In order to be enforceable, the parties need to provide a fair and reasonable disclosure of assets or agree to waive the disclosure. We recommend disclosure, and list the assets and large debts with their approximate values in exhibits and attach them to the prenup. The prenup also must not be too shockingly unfair to one party, for instance, waiving reasonable alimony when a spouse then would qualify for public assistance.

Q: Who needs a prenup?

A: Prenups are most beneficial to engaged couples who have children from a prior marriage, in order to continue to protect their assets for their children’s future. Prenups are also beneficial for someone who owns a business, whether it is a family-run business or one started before the marriage, in order to maintain the autonomy of the business and not have the other spouse gain ownership interest solely because of the marriage. Again, a consultation is the best was to find out if one is appropriate.

Q: When is the right time to get a prenup?

A: I have seen prenups done a few months in advance to just before the ceremony!  The rules is the longer the time prior to the marriage, the better. ( Get any “unpleasant business” finished and then go have a great weeding/ party/trip!) If the parties do not have a prenup prior to getting married, there is another option.  After the wedding date, the couple can enter into a post-nuptial agreement..  In Texas, the standard for a post nup—a marital agreement are identical to that for a prenup.  As are the enforcement provisions, which presumes the pre nup or post nup is VALID.

Q: How much does a prenup cost?

A:  It depends.  Full disclosure of assets and liabilities, and actual representation of both parties—to insure REAL understanding of the  agreement, and what it will do, is essential.  So from high three figures to five figures is the range. And in the reduced fee consultation, you will find out what yours should cost.

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Raggio & Raggio, PLLC is based in Dallas, Texas. We represent clients throughout North Texas, in the cities of Dallas, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Richardson, Irving, Highland Park, University Park, Park Cities, Garland, Mesquite, Rockwall, Fort Worth and Denton, as well as Dallas County, Denton County, Tarrant County and Rockwall County.