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Prenuptial agreements must be carefully done

Prenuptial agreements can be very useful for a good number of couples getting married in Texas. It can help make sure, for example, that children from a prior marriage are adequately provided for in the event of death or divorce and help protect a business or professional practice begun before the marriage in the event of a breakup. But there are a number of cautions worth mentioning when obtaining prenuptial agreements.

The first is that legal representation is needed - indeed, both prospective spouses must have their own independent legal representation to avoid conflicts of interest. Incredibly enough, Amy Irving and Steven Spielberg, prominent Hollywood personalities, drafted their prenuptial agreement on a napkin, with no lawyers involved, resulting in the whole thing being tossed out and ignored by the courts. Spielberg was ordered to pay Irving a total of $100 million when that marriage broke up, so he didn't really save any money in avoiding hiring a lawyer to properly draft the agreement.

It is best to discuss and conclude the matter early, not minutes before the wedding. No one should be coerced or pressured into signing such an agreement, as that can be grounds for setting it aside.

Both parties must fully disclose their assets, income and debts in order to know what they are agreeing to. There are some types of clauses that cannot be put into such agreements because they are deemed unenforceable, such as a clause barring children from getting child support. Anyone planning to have a prenuptial agreement drawn up needs to have a full discussion with an experienced family lawyer to have a full understanding of what the agreement can and can't accomplish.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 Common Prenup Pitfalls" David Centeno, Nov. 04, 2013

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