A Premarital Agreement is Made in Contemplation of Marriage

The pre-nuptial agreement is a legal document that marrying couples may want to consider entering before actually tying the knot. While some individuals see pre-nuptial agreements as a sign of mistrust towards the person with whom they will spend the rest of their lives; many financial experts, legal professionals and marriage counselors rather say that entering into one is rather advantageous, especially in the event that the marriage does not work out and end in divorce.

Pre-nuptial, ante-nuptial or pre-marital agreement gained popularity in the U.S. in 1848 after the Married Women’s Property Act was passed into law. Prior to this law, a legal policy known as “coverture” required that a woman who entered into marriage had to surrender to her husband whatever she owned, even her rights and identity. Thus, the right to own properties, as well as the right to sell or transfer these properties’ ownership was alienated from her.

Coverture also took away a wife’s rights from getting an education and from receiving a salary (unless she was allowed by her husband); thus, if she was allowed by her husband to work, she will have to surrender all her earnings to him. Simply put, the coverture policy took away a wife’s civil and property rights, and rendered her only as an extension of the man she married.

The Married Women’s Property Act gave married women the right to earn and keep her earnings – this, somehow, offered her a bit of protection in the event that her husband divorces her (as divorce was common thing during those times).

A pre-nuptial agreement, to be understood by both parties, will need to be discussed by them as candidly as possible. You may seek the assistance of lawyers who will see to the observance of both of rights and interests and who will prepare the necessary documents based on the decisions arrived at. Some of the benefits this agreement provides include protection:

Over wealth inherited from your family;
Of your personal and business properties and assets made before marriage;
Of the financial security of your child/children from a previous union; and,
From lengthy and costly court settlement in the event of divorce.

As explained by Kirker Davis, LLP, drafting and signing a premarital agreement remains a contentious issue for many couples. However, having a premarital agreement is the best way to protect the interests of you and your spouse. A premarital agreement is defined in the state of Texas as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective on marriage.” The agreement must pertain to property held before or gained after marriage, including income and earnings. It is imperative to have the strongest legal team conducting your premarital agreements to protect your best interests.

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