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Is signing a prenuptial agreement a precursor to a divorce?

Signing a prenuptial agreement is not a precursor to a divorce. Over the past couple of decades the rate at which couples across the nation are signing a prenuptial agreement has increased a significant amount. One family law attorney in Atlanta reports, "Overall, I'd say prenups are ten times more common than they were 20 years ago, when I started practicing. It's not taboo anymore." The same holds true in Texas as well, where a surge of prenuptial agreements have been signed.

A significant aspect of this rise is the shifting perception of prenuptial agreements. It isn't taboo anymore. When so many couples saw their first marriage end in divorce, they witnessed the emotional and financial pain that a prolonged and heavily litigated divorce can bring. With a prenuptial agreement, much of this is avoided. This doesn't mean that a couple is getting divorce, but it can alleviate anxiety surrounding exchanging vows for a second time. Several aspects can be detailed, including alimony, property division, child support and division of a business.

There are a few key things to be very mindful of when drafting a prenuptial agreement:

  • Honesty: Soon-to-be spouses must both be honest about their assets and debts when they pen the agreement. Failing to do so could void the agreement in the event of a divorce.
  • Conditions: There should not be any elements of a prenuptial agreement that are unenforceable.
  • Circumstances: Both parties must freely sign the prenuptial agreement. Any proven coercion or duress surrounding the inking of the document could also rule it invalid.

To ensure that a prenuptial agreement will hold up in the event of a divorce, couples are advised to seek legal counsel throughout the process. A family law attorney can assist a Texas couple in protecting their respective assets and securing peace of mind before walking down the aisle.

Source: Reuters, "Breaking up is hard to do, breaking prenup is harder," Geoff Williams, Oct. 5, 2012

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