Marital agreements have long been viewed as a negative aspect to what should otherwise be a joyous event. However, that view has started to change in recent years. Today, couples are realizing that a prenuptial agreement is an important financial tool to protect both parties against unexpected events, rather than a prediction of a future where the marriage will ultimately end.
Unfortunately, Louisiana does have one of the highest divorce rates in the country, which is why you should give careful consideration to whether one is right for your situation. It’s important to speak to a Louisiana family law attorney to understand how a marital agreement can protect you and your assets.
What’s the Difference between Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements?
As their names might suggest, a prenuptial agreement is one that is drafted prior to entering into a legal marriage. A postnuptial agreement is one that is drafted after the marriage takes place. It could be right after or years into the marriage.
Both agreements technically do the same thing, although some people view a postnuptial agreement as a sign of a distrust brewing rather than asset protection, which is really what a postnuptial is about.
Reasons People Might Want a Marital Agreement
There are a number of reasons why couples opt to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Some reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement include:
- One or both spouses have a significant number of assets before marriage
- One or both spouses have children from a prior marriage
- One or both spouses co-owns or owns a portion of a family business
- One spouse gives up their lucrative career to be with the new spouse
A prenuptial agreement could even protect you from creditors looking to collect on future debts.
Postnuptial agreements provide the same protections, but there is one major difference: Louisiana requires postnuptial agreements to have judicial authorization. They are normally signed when there is a significant change after the couple is already married. This could include receiving an inheritance, a career change, or the birth or adoption of a baby.
Because Louisiana is a community property state, having a prenuptial agreement can help make things easier in the event of a divorce. Otherwise, the state views anything that was acquired during the marriage as community property, and it will be split 50/50. Dividing assets like a family business, inheritances, and retirement funds can be especially tricky. Having these spelled out in a prenuptial agreement can streamline things in the event of a divorce.
Can You Challenge a Prenuptial Agreement?
Marital agreements are legally binding in Louisiana and can be extremely difficult to break. You would need to prove the agreement was not properly executed, it had unfair provisions, or that you were forced to sign under duress, etc. If there is enough evidence, your Louisiana prenuptial agreement attorney could file a motion to invalidate the agreement, and then it’s up to the court to decide.
Retaining a Louisiana Family Law Attorney
If you have questions on marital agreements or want to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement drafted, contact Candice Bennatt Law at 504-777-3500 to schedule a consultation. Let our knowledgeable team answer all your questions and draft a prenuptial agreement that is right for you.
Candice Bennatt is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Metairie, Louisiana. She graduated from Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing law for six years. Lauren Taylor believes in solving family law issues. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.