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Some tips on planning a solid Texas prenuptial agreement

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder goes the saying. The same could also be said about the view one holds about prenuptial agreements. Many in Texas may pooh-pooh even the thought of such documents saying that they presume divorce and that if you think that way, it will happen.

But current data on marriage success suggest that half of all unions are likely to end in divorce. If that is true, then it would seem safe to say, given the odds, that a prenuptial agreement can be useful, especially if it is approached from a standpoint of pragmatism and reason. The same could be said for postnuptial agreements -- those drafted and signed after vows are exchanged.

How does one enter into the process with the proper frame of mind? Here are some thoughts that we think many experts agree with.

To start with, it's wise to examine things from the perspective of how the married state changes things. State laws vary, but generally speaking, what each party brings to the table remains their individual asset or liability. After marriage, if one spouse adds a name to a mortgage or the couple takes out a joint credit card, the benefits and debts are shared and lines of separation may blur. A prenuptial agreement can help identify and maintain desired boundaries.

Here are some other tips from a variety of experts.

  • Plan well ahead. Many couples take half a year or even a full one to plan the event. Putting prenup planning at the front end of the to-do list ensures you both have adequate time to review the document.
  • Maintain as much objectivity as possible. Marriages tend to follow from love, one of the most discombobulating of human emotions. And planning the event is often rife with tension. But in dealing with a prenup plan, you want to maintain a sense of cool, calm collectedness.
  • Avoid fault clauses. Conditional prenuptial contracts -- those that say something like, "if you cheat, you owe" -- are ill advised. Not only do they seem to affirm the idea that divorce is expected, but such clauses it may be deemed unenforceable by the court.
  • Know what Texas law allows. There are many ways to learn this information. One of the best is by consulting with an attorney skilled in prenuptial agreements.

Source: DailyFinance, "Five Tips on Planning a Prenuptial Agreement Before You Say 'I Do'," accessed Oct. 29, 2015

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