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 [email protected] or by phone at 713-574-8626.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Talking Money Before Marriage!