Tag Archives: prenuptial agreement

Are You Proactive or Reactive?

Hey youMost of the time I meet people in the middle of a crisis. Sometimes a loved one has recently died. Other times my clients have pending criminal charges or lawsuits filed against them. In these instances, my clients are reacting to the slings and arrows of life. Crises happen and are sometimes unavoidable. However, there are times when you can prepare for what lies ahead. Being prepared for the future and planning for some of the inevitable challenges that we all face is how I define being proactive. Instead of reacting to your circumstances, you are creating options and opportunities for yourself.

  • When a person comes to me to write a last will & testament, I know my new client is proactive.
  • When a person comes to me to ask questions about a contract before signing it, I know he or she is proactive.
  • When the owner of a start-up comes to me to incorporate his new business, I know he is proactive.
  • When a person inquires about power of attorney documents so that their affairs are handled before they go overseas for military service or business, I know that person is proactive.
  • Any time I am asked to actively market oil, gas, and minerals for mineral owners seeking a sale or a lease of their property, I know my clients are proactive.

You may be wondering, “why does this matter?” It matters because being proactive puts my client in the driver’s seat of his or her life. I have a greater ability to assist the proactive client because I know that person is looking ahead to what could be instead of instinctively reacting to their current circumstances.  This changes the dynamic of our relationship and allows me to make suggestions, ask questions about their concerns, and generally be of more value.

I appreciate all of my clients, but frankly, the proactive clients are my favorite. They have emergencies. Everyone does, but more often than not, they are better prepared when trouble comes their way because they sought my counsel before something has even gone wrong in the first place. Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop. Contact a lawyer to discuss your future, your business, the birth of your first child, you pending nuptials, or any other major life change you may be facing. You might be surprised what you learn, and how I may be of use to you in the long run.

To schedule a consultation with an attorney who wants to build a lifetime relationship with you, call (713) 574-8626.

Preuptial Agreement

Talking Money Before Marriage Part 3

Preuptial Agreement

The best planning comes before marriage.

In the final installment of this series, we’re going to look into a very common issue that can be a tricky situation for couples to navigate: financial support of children from previous relationships. Whether it’s the future husband or wife who has child support obligations, this is a long-term financial circumstance that should be fully discussed before marriage vows are exchanged. This is an issue that is often inquired about much later than it should be. No one wants to offend their fiance by asking, “am I going to have to financially support my future stepchildren?” Generally, most people assume the answer to this question to be yes, what’s your husband’s or wife’s is yours, including their financial obligations. But is this necessarily true in the legal sense? In Texas, the real answer is no.

In Texas, only the income of the non-custodial parent (the parent who the child does not have primary physical possession of the child) is considered in child support determinations. However, if that parent has other children, it is possible that he or she could request his or her child support burden be proportionally reduced due to his or her new financial obligation to the other children. If you are marrying a person who already has a child, it is important for you to talk honestly about whether or not that child will be provided for from the family funds or if your future husband or wife will set aside some of their income to cover the expenses of their child. Understandably, you may have a great deal of affection for your future step-child, but if that child’s parent takes your new spouse to court seeking to receive more money in child support payments, the outcome of that decision will affect you and any other children you may decide to have with your spouse. It is important to have these discussions before the ink is dry on the marriage license because statistically, it is differing views about finances that most often drive couples to divorce. If you expect to spend a lifetime in your marriage, you must be willing to have some difficult conversations along the way.

It is our hope that this series of blogs was helpful and informative. There are many other issues affecting new marriages, and a family law attorney can help guide you through some of these issues before you say “I do.” If you’d like to speak to a professional, knowledgeable team of attorneys, please give The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss a call at 713-574-8626 to schedule a consultation appointment.

 

 

Talking Money Before Marriage Part 2

Sex and the City was a groundbreaking show about four single women in New York. This HBO series chronicled the lives and loves of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda as they dated and sometimes married the men who entered their lives. One of those women, Charlotte York, was faced with a situation that some people can relate to. She was engaged to a man named Trey MacDougal from a wealthy family, and he casually presented her with a prenuptial agreement before a dinner party. Confused and a little insulted, she consulted her good friend Miranda Hobbes, Esq. Miranda told her the agreement was standard and encouraged her to sign it, but Charlotte had lingering concerns about her presumed worth in her future marriage.

While you may not be a fan of televised romantic comedies, you may want to know more about the reasons people enter into prenuptial agreements. The driving factor to be addressed in this post is control over family assets and inheritance rights. Historically, some people have created trusts for their children that they fund throughout their lives to encourage them to make certain kinds of choices (such as to attend college, marry,  or enter military service), and when these children grow up and marry, their parents want to make sure their hard- earned investments do not become the subject of a property dispute during a divorce.

Usually, these fears are unwarranted. Property owned by one spouse before marriage is his or her separate property, but it is possible for this family trust or inheritance money to become so mixed with community property that it actually becomes classified as community property. In order to prevent this from happening, some families urge their descendants to enter into prenuptial agreements to clearly identify the funds received from the family trust as separate property, not subject to any claims made in divorce or any other law suit. If you come from a family that has left you financially secure via trust accounts, investments, or real property, it is a good idea to identify your resources and isolate them from the assets you may acquire during your marriage. You should do this not out of pessimism or mistrust for your future spouse, but to insure that you will be able to decide what happens to these assets before, during, and after you marry.

Please consult an experienced family law attorney to discuss your financial plans before you enter into this new phase of your life. The attorneys at The Law Office of Kimberly D. Moss would be happy to answer any questions you may have and are ready to discuss the ways in which your life may change upon marriage. You may contact us via email at moss.law.houston@gmail.com or by phone at 713-574-8626.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Talking Money Before Marriage!

Talking Money Before Marriage Part 1

If you’re like most people, the idea of talking about finances or existing debt with your partner is not at the top of your list. Many people find discussions about money to be rude, at best, and a turn-off or red flag at worst. This doesn’t mean it’s an issue to be avoided. Some people come into their relationships and pending nuptials with property that they’ve inherited from family or acquired on their own or through a business. Other people are business owners who have assets associated with their careers and have financial ties to business partners, creditors, etc. Another category of folks are going into a new marriage with children from a previous relationship, and attendant financial obligations such as alimony payments, child support, or pre-existing debt due to a divorce. Of these three categories of people, all of them should consider a prenuptial agreement before saying, “I do.” There are many reasons for this, but today let’s consider the first of three.

The first issue in this three part blog series about prenuptial agreements is this: Texas is a community property state. It’s one of nine community property states in the country, and that is important because once two individuals get married, the property they acquire, the income they create, the retirement benefits that acrue, and any other asset that should come their way during the marriage becomes community property (50% his and 50% hers).  If you’re a business owner, your spouse could lay claim to half of the assets associated with your business while you were married if the two of you divorce, even if you started the business before you were ever married. Does this seem fair?

Although no one wants to anticipate the end of a marriage, its important to remember that marriage is not only about two people becoming one, but it’s also the moment at which two people’s finances become one. If you are serious about spending your life with someone, you’re going to have to face the reality of discussing finances with him or her. If you have questions or concerns and would like to know more about what is involved in the creation of a prenuptial agreement, call 713-574-8626. Our office would be glad to give you more information or schedule a consultation.

Next week, the discussion of premarital agreements continues, and we will face the reality of marriage as a financial decision.

 

 

Getting Married? Here’s What You Should Know

You’re in love. You’re ready to spend the rest of your life with the man or woman of your dreams, but you also know the terrible divorce rate in the U.S. and you’d sure hate to be in the category of the 49-51% of couples who end up divorced. The statistics, unfortunately, are simply not on your side. As unromantic as it may be, divorce is an incredibly common occurrence, and if you have property or children from a previous relationship, it is a good idea to consider a premarital agreement.

Texas is one of nine community property states. The one thing you need to remember about community property is that what you acquire during marriage (whether it’s income, equity, or interest) becomes community property or belongs to both you and your spouse 50-50. This means that if you and your beloved call it quits, it is very likely you’ll end up with only half of your stuff when the divorce is over. Most people assume this risk and get married anyway. Other people have taken a different route and decided to discuss this issue with their intended before saying “I do.” I strongly recommend the latter tactic. A premarital or prenuptial agreement is a contract that explains what you have decided to do with your property, finances, and debt as a couple during your marriage. It is drafted before the marriage and is binding throughout, unless it is revoked in writing.

Some people enter into a marriage and then decide that for some reason it would be best to partition or separate some of their community property and designate it as separate. Other times they may decide to separate some of their separate property and convert it into community. There are all kinds of reasons that couples decide to do this, but usually there are tax implications underlying these decisions. In this case, the couple contacts a lawyer who recommends a postmarital or postnuptial agreement. It has the same effect as a prenuptial agreement, but it is drafted during the marriage rather than before.

If you are considering marriage or are currently married and want to know more about community property laws and how they affect many aspects of a marital relationship, please contact this office. We’d be happy to discuss your rights and answer your questions.