Category: Family Law

PRENUPTIAL TIPS WHEN ENTERING A SECOND MARRIAGE

It makes sense that prenuptial lawyers see a lot of clients who are heading into their second marriages. After a divorce, the implications of what really happens are so much clearer than they were the first time around. Love does not always last, and the financial implications of ending a relationship can be devastating.

Reasons to Consider a Prenup in a Second Marriage

Not only is a divorced person more aware of the financial headache that comes along with ending a marriage, they are also more in tune with the fact that finances can contribute to the desire for a divorce. For that reason, the need for a prenuptial agreement that outlines the use of money during the marriage can play an important role in keeping things on track the second time around.

Rather than only focusing on who gets what in the event of a divorce, the prenuptial lawyer can also help craft the document so that it lays out the way the couple agrees to approach certain subjects throughout the marriage. A big one is how money will be handled by the couple. Who is in charge of paying the bills? What are the couple’s goals for saving and retirement? Are there considerations that need to be made before making a large purchase? By being on the same page regarding these topics at the onset of the marriage, it is possible to get your priorities aligned and to stick to the plan.

Second marriages often result in blended families, too. Whether the partners have adult children from a previous relationship or they will be caring together for minor step-children, the prenup can help to protect everyone involved should one partner pass away. For example, a mother may intend for the home she bought before the marriage to be passed on to her children, but she also wants her new husband to be able to live out the remainder of his days in the house. The prenuptial lawyer can refer to the laws of Texas to help create a “right of occupancy” for the surviving spouse.

Prenup as Part of the Estate Plan

A prenuptial agreement can wield a lot of power, but it is not necessarily a replacement for other estate planning. Wills and trusts come into play when looking at inheritance, so the prenup is more of a starting point than an ending point when it comes to laying out your longest-term plans. By working with a skilled Houston prenuptial lawyer, you can create a legally-binding agreement for how you want your marriage to look, and what needs to happen should it end in divorce. You can even have some influence in what happens after your death through the prenup. That said it is a good idea to build on the cooperation that goes into putting it together to continue your estate planning on the next level.

FAMILY LAWYERS IN HOUSTON USE PRENUPTIAL TO AGREEMENTS AVOID DIVORCE

Family lawyers in Houston, TX are often told that couples who create a prenuptial agreement are basically saying that they plan to get divorced some day. That could not be farther from the truth! Actually, prenuptial lawyers in Houston see first-hand how these important documents can actually help keep a marriage intact…and not out of fear of alimony, either.

Financial problems are one of the biggest causes of divorce in the United States. Couples in love often get married and head blindly into the most complex financial arrangement of their lives. Those who take the time to meet with a family lawyer and develop a prenuptial agreement, however, can almost completely avoid much of the drama that other couples will likely face.

Sure, prenuptial agreements can lay out what happens in the case of a divorce, but more importantly, they can lay out what happens during the course of a marriage. Each partner and their lawyers work together to identify income and assets and then to plan for how it will be handled. Who is in charge of what? Does the money all go into a single pot, or does each spouse keep separate accounts? What means will you use to plan for the future? What about children from a previous relationship?

By addressing these and other financial issues, couples are able to make sure they have compatible expectations before ever walking down the aisle. They can also avoid getting stuck later because they both have a written agreement about how finances will be handled. Instead of seeing a prenuptial as being there in case of divorce, it makes more sense to see it as a means of avoiding that outcome.

Couples are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to talk about a prenuptial agreement. Really, putting together this kind of plan can be a lot of fun, as it allows you to dream together about the future you want and create a plan to reach it. In order to make sure that the prenup is upheld, however, you will want to take a couple of precautions. For example, each partner should have his or her own family lawyer in order to make sure everyone’s interests are being fairly considered. It is also important to make sure that all financial information is disclosed. You are about to get married, after all, there should be trust and honesty between you. And, if there is not…perhaps the planning helped you avoid using the prenup later.

A Special Note About Blended Families

The laws of inheritance are often not flexible enough to account for today’s modern life. For example, a surviving spouse may automatically inherit a deceased spouse’s estate, even if the latter has children. When the second spouse also passes away, the entire estate goes to his or her children due to blood lines, rather than to the step-children. That’s right, children from a previous marriage could end up totally (and legally) without anything. This is an issue that family and estate planning lawyers have seen too many times and one that the prenuptial agreement can account for up front.

SOME LEGAL IMPLICATIONS FAMILY LAWYERS IN HOUSTON SEE FOR NEWLYWEDS

Marriage is a blending of two lives, and while this is true on both a spiritual and physical level, it also has implications for your finances and other legal considerations. Family lawyers in Houston are often called upon during newlywed planning in order to clear up any confusion regarding how your new marital status affects you legally.

Credit

Your new spouse will not necessarily affect your personal credit score, but there are still implications. Your newlywed planning will likely include how to finance large purchases such as a home or vehicle. Family lawyers in Houston advise that if a couple is applying for a loan together, then both credit scores will be taken into consideration. Of course, so will both incomes, so simply having one partner apply is not necessarily the best option.

Additionally, unpaid debts by one partner can become the legal responsibility of the other spouse after the wedding. If there are concerns about this, it is a very good idea to meet with a Houston family lawyer to determine how best to protect both parties, which is usually done with a prenuptial agreement.

Taxes

Taxes are definitely affected by your marital status. Married people are able to file their taxes jointly. There are both benefits and drawbacks to this. For example, by combining your income, you may find yourself in a higher tax bracket. On the other hand, if one spouse makes significantly more than the other, the averaging of these two amounts could lead to a lesser tax bill. Working with a good divorce lawyer is a great resource to refer you to a CPA to help in determining the most effective way to file your taxes.

Estate Planning

One of the biggest long-term legal considerations is how your marriage will affect your estate planning. Many newlyweds do not really understand the importance of planning while they are still young, but this is an incredible way to set and reach goals for your marriage. If you have children, estate planning becomes even more vital! There are special privileges for spouses when it comes to this type of planning. If this is not your first marriage, you will especially want to make sure you update any previous estate plans to include your new spouse and exclude your old one.

Health Care

Being married brings with it additional rights for you and your partner, such as the ability to care for one another in the hospital. There are also significant responsibilities that come along with this, including the need to make medical decisions for each other when necessary. An estate planning lawyer can help make sure your documentation is in order should you want that responsibility to fall to someone else. Along those same lines, it is a good idea to create a living will with your spouse so he or she is aware of the types of decisions you want made on your behalf.

HOUSTON FAMILY LAWYER’S ADVICE FOR NEWLYWED FINANCES

Whether you are planning to get married or are already enjoying your wedded bliss, there is no time like the present to get financial advice from a knowledgeable family lawyer in Houston. You and your partner should put more planning into your financial future than you did into your wedding, after all, one only lasts a day and the other is for the rest of your lives!

Financial discussions are not always easy, but laying out a clear roadmap early on can actually be beneficial to the overall health of your marriage. Money issues are a huge contributor to unhappiness in a partnership, and Houston family lawyers have seen time and again how working together earlier can avoid a lot of stress later on in the relationship.

Planning for the Future

It is impossible to peer into the future and know everything that you and your spouse are going to face together, but there are some pretty obvious considerations to make. Talking with your partner and possibly with a family lawyer in Houston can help you determine how you plan to approach many of the biggest financial considerations facing newlyweds.

· College and/or student loans

· Purchasing a home

· Planning for children

· Funding retirement

· Life insurance policies

· Other large purchases (cars, furniture, etc.)

· Travel

Planning for these types of things can cause some stress, but it can also be fun. Knowing that you eventually want to be able to take a trip to Paris and then taking concrete steps to make it happen can be a wonderful bonding experience and will also pay off in the experience of a lifetime. Family lawyers in Houston see all too often how couples get into financial difficulties by taking trips or making large purchases when they have not planned ahead to make them realities.

Planning for the Present

While just as important, sometimes figuring out what to do about finances right now is a little less fun. Still, you and your spouse need to take the opportunity to look at your current financial situation in order to make your long-term goals a reality. There are some considerations that are especially important for newlywed planning, too, when it comes to how to combine (or not) your finances.

· What are your expectations when it comes to money

· Which finances and accounts will be combined, and which will not

· How will you deal with debt brought into the marriage

· Will there be resentment if one spouse makes more money than the other

· What are your views on using credit

Budgeting

In order to develop a long-term plan, you and your partner will need to use the above information to create a workable budget. This should include:

· Income (wages, businesses, investments)

· Assets (accounts, stocks, retirement, property)

· Debts (school, home loans, business loans, credit cards)

· Expenses (ongoing and incidental)

By laying out what you have and what you need, you can develop a plan to help meet your current requirements, as well as to save for the future. A good family lawyer in Houston can help you put all of this information into perspective to create workable plan to meet your financial needs.