Is getting a prenup or postnup in Louisiana a good idea?
A marriage is built on trust and accountability, in addition to love and respect. Those swirling, positive emotions which engulf many New Orleans couples can create tunnel vision — prohibiting either spouse to see what the future can hold. It can be one of the more uncomfortable things to bring up during what is normally a time of happiness, but a prenuptial agreement can protect you when things go wrong in a marriage.
No one wants to think their marriage will end, but the sad fact of the matter is Louisiana has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. If you or someone one you love is on the fence about signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a New Orleans family lawyer can be a sound source of advice on how to navigate the prenup/postnup process.
Louisiana Community Property Law
The most important reason New Orleans couples should consider a prenuptial agreement is Louisiana’s community property law. Louisiana is one of nine states in the country where community property law still applies. The law states any item or asset of value acquired by a couple from the date of their marriage to the filing of divorce papers is considered joint property.
This can seem arbitrary until you are actually faced with divorce. Any New Orleans or Metairie family law attorney can tell you how messy dividing community property can be in court, especially when it comes to dividing retirement funds, inheritance, or the family business.
Remember, all those aforementioned assets can be seen as community property by the state of Louisiana. This is why getting a prenup or postnup can be a valuable safety net for both parties, even if the idea of a divorce can seem unfathomable for most New Orleans couples. By terminating the community property regime, couples can make their own rules on asset division for the marriage.
Prenup vs. Postnup in Louisiana
There is only one difference between a prenuptial and a postnuptial agreement in Louisiana: one is signed before the marriage and the other is signed after the marriage. Both agreements do the same thing, but a postnuptial agreement normally comes into play when significant changes come after the marriage ceremony.
Most New Orleans couples have heard of a prenup before either through experience or in pop culture. Prenuptial agreements have gained a reputation as a sign of distrust between two parties in a marriage, but it’s more about asset protection than anything else.
A prenup can protect a spouse from party creditors looking to collect on future debts. Some of the main reasons a New Orleans couple would enter a prenuptial agreement are:
- One spouse enters the marriage with a substantial amount of assets
- One spouse sacrifices a fruitful career in order to be with their new spouse
- One spouse has children from a previous marriage
- One spouse either owns, co-owns or is part of a family business
A postnup will provide all the same protections a prenup does, but they normally are signed when there is a significant change in the relationship following the marriage ceremony. Postnuptial agreements require judicial authorization in the state of Louisiana. The most common of these include:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Career change
Can I break a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in Louisiana?
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are legally binding in the state of Louisiana. Once you’ve been locked into one, they are very difficult to break. A party who wishes to break out of a prenup or postnup would need to contact a New Orleans family law attorney to analyze the following:
- Was the prenup properly executed?
- Are there any incomplete, false or unfair provisions?
- Where there extreme circumstances when you signed which would have affected your judgment?
If you and your family law attorney believe there is enough evidence to break the agreement, then you can go forward with filing a motion. From there the rest would be up to a Louisiana court to decide if the motion is valid, then if it is schedule a hearing. This can be a long, arduous process — so be sure you have the right family law attorney present when you’re drafting a prenup. The smallest mistake in paperwork can lead to a year of uncomfortable paperwork and court dates.
Let a New Orleans family law attorney guide your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement process
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is the least attractive way to discuss the financial future of your marriage. But in many cases, it is necessary to make sure the assets of both parties are protected in case something goes wrong in the future.
Candice Bennatt is a New Orleans family law attorney who can guide you through the prenuptial agreement process in a way that’s comfortable for both parties. Call 504-777-3500 today for a free consultation.