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Ways to tackle a pre-marital agreement

Talking about money with your future spouse is not always easy to do. For engaged couples in Texas, however, a pre-marital agreement may be one way to foster such communications. A major stumbling block, however, is timely bringing up the subject of a pre-marital agreement during their engagement.

Procrastination is the enemy of a successful agreement. Discussions should begin as soon as possible shortly after the couple becomes engaged. These should also occur before serious wedding planning, which adds to the couple's stress and diverts their attention. Submitting terms close to the wedding date may also be considered coercion.

Executing a pre-marital agreement can be thought of as the creation of a planning instrument that will benefit and provide security to both spouses. Dividing the process into small phases with deadlines helps keeps the process on track. These include hiring lawyers, discussion of terms, reviewing early drafts of the agreement and finalizing and signing the pre-marital agreement.

Unlike some other contracts, the parties' goal in a pre-marital agreement is achieving a win-win situation. The future spouses need to be transparent about their financial situation, seek information about what is important to their future spouse and try to address their wishes. Both parties can make reasonable concessions in return to items that are truly important to them

Both spouses should also play a role in the drafting process. Receiving a large, fully-drafted agreement as a fait-accompli can generate suspicion or leave a party left out of the process even if the agreement is favorable. Both parties should consult with their attorneys and generally agree to terms before they are put in writing.

Both parties must also have their own attorneys to educate and advise them and help them draft a legally-valid agreement. A properly drafted pre-marital agreement can provide a means for couples to talk about money issues that may come up during the course of the marriage or in the event of a divorce.

Source: Insider, "How to strengthen your marriage with a prenup," By Alyssa Rower, LLC, May 9, 2018

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