Singer Natalie Maines' break-up from her husband, actor Adrian Pasdar, continues to get media attention. The Lubbock native, who's best known as the outspoken lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, drew up a prenuptial agreement with Pasdar back in 2000 before the two married.
Prenuptial agreements can address a multitude of issues beyond the division of assets when a couple divorces.
Whenever a couple decides to get married, it is wise for them to at least consider a prenuptial agreement. Although some couples may have negative feelings towards these agreements, they are typically well worth the time and effort to create them. Not only does a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, protect both spouses from an unnecessarily complicated and destructive divorce if the marriage fails, it can also help couples deal with difficult issues before they become problems that threaten the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are a great way to establish expectations and responsibilities in a marriage and to keep certain property separate, simplifying matters if a marriage does not last. Unfortunately, enjoying the protections that a prenuptial agreement offers usually means locking in the terms of the agreement before the marriage even begins, which can prove difficult to navigate.
A prenuptial agreement is something every couple should consider as they approach their wedding day. A carefully worded prenup can offer a great deal of relief to spouses who use it correctly, protecting one from the other's debts or outlining each person's expectations within the marriage. However, some prenups include terms that the law does not support or does not allow -- such as terms surrounding child custody.
For many generations, prenuptial agreements carried a certain stigma in the public's view, often seeming like the kind of thing that old, rich families used to keep their wealth protected in case a son or daughter married someone without means of their own. While this is true to an extent, prenups are not only for the rich and powerful. They are also useful for any couple that marries, even if they never divorce.
Often, when couples come to an attorney to set up a prenuptial agreement, one or both partners have strong misgivings. This is understandable, especially considering the negative stigma that prenups have among some parts of the population. One of the most common concerns that couples have about creating a prenup is that it "encourages divorce" or otherwise weakens their relationship.
Here in Texas, prenuptial agreements are particularly important to consider prior to marriage. Unlike most other states, Texas uses community property guidelines when it comes to property division in divorce, meaning that any property each party does not preclude as separate property through a prenuptial agreement automatically converts to marital property. Should a couple divorce, they must split all the marital property equally.
With a wedding on the horizon, a prenuptial agreement may seem like a distant priority or may even seem distasteful to consider for many couples. These are normal things to feel as you prepare to share the rest of your life with someone, but they are still misguided perspectives that may cost you dearly in the future, even if you never divorce.
Prenuptial agreement are an essential part of many marriages, and should certainly be used much more frequently than they are. Considering the number of marriages that do ultimately end in divorce, it is no small wonder than more couples do not choose to protect each other and themselves with a thoughtful and well-planned prenuptial agreement.