The wedding date is set, the venue is booked and you’ve sent out the invitations – but you have a nagging feeling that keeps surfacing in the months before the big day. Prenuptial agreements may be something you have discussed with your soon-to-be or you’ve at least floated the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement.
If you haven’t spoken to your future spouse about drafting a prenuptial agreement and you have a wedding date coming up soon, you may not want to wait to have the discussion. Prenuptial agreements are a touchy subject, especially in Louisiana. Your future in-laws have probably already given you a good scolding if you’ve brought up the subject. Just keep in mind – it’s none of your spouse’s family’s business what you do in your marriage. They’re not the ones making the decisions and you have to do what’s best for your marriage.
Why Do People Get Prenups in Louisiana?
Both parties enter a marriage believing they will be together forever, or at least they should. You never expect to get divorced, but it does happen. Some people believe setting up a prenuptial agreement puts bad luck on the marriage, but that’s simply not true. A prenuptial agreement is simply a way of protecting yourself should the marriage end abruptly. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of divorce in the country and you can get divorced through no fault of your own. Your spouse could one day decide that they no longer wish to be married to you. It happens and that’s why you should speak about it with your future spouse and consider getting a prenuptial agreement with the help of a Louisiana family law attorney.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement in Louisiana?
A prenuptial agreement creates a separation of property in a marriage. As you know, Louisiana is one of the few states that recognizes community property law. According to the law, any assets or item of value that you purchase or build from the beginning of your marriage all the way until you divorce is considered joint property. It does not matter who contributed what or how much each individual added – it is still considered community property under the law and must be split evenly. Dividing community property in the court system can be a long and drawn out process that ends up costs thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and court costs.
A prenuptial agreement in Louisiana is a way to protect assets in the event of a divorce. It not only terminates the default community property regime, but also gives spouses the option to divide assets how they wish.
Can You Get a Prenup If You’re Already Married?
A prenuptial agreement must be executed before you are married. However, you can get a postnuptial agreement in Louisiana after you’re married, but with special rules. A postnuptial agreement is usually utilized when there has been a significant change after the marriage began. One spouse may have received a hefty inheritance, a new job that pays a substantial amount or had a new child either through natural means or adoption.
Here are the rules of a postnuptial agreement:
- Must be by joint petition of both spouses;
- Finding by the court that it is in their best interests; and
- They fully understand the governing principles and rules.
You can execute a prenuptial agreement without court approval, but the postnuptial agreement requires special care to ensure one party isn’t taking advantage of the other.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Prenuptial Agreement in Louisiana?
It is highly suggested that you hire a Louisiana family law attorney to handle your prenuptial agreement. Prenups are challenged in court all the time. It’s one thing you don’t want an opposing attorney shooting holes in and unraveling. The loss of property could end up costing substantially more than hiring an attorney to do it right the first time.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Broken in Louisiana?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document and they are extremely hard to break or unravel. However, an opposing attorney could attempt based on the following:
- Did you sign under extreme circumstances or duress?
- Were any of the provisions unfair to one party?
- Was the prenuptial agreement property drafted and executed?
- Was one party to the marriage a minor at the time of marriage?
There are numerous ways that a family law attorney can attempt to break a prenuptial agreement, so it is important that you speak with an experienced family law attorney in Louisiana to assist you with your prenup.
Do Prenups Ruin Marriages?
Prenuptial agreements in Louisiana have unfairly gained a bad reputation. Many see speaking of a prenuptial agreement as a sign that you aren’t in the marriage for life. This is not true as a prenup can be viewed as asset protection.
Here are a few common reasons people in Louisiana get prenuptial or postnuptial agreements:
- One spouse has a high amount of assets;
- Children from a previous marriage;
- A spouse is an owner or co-owner of a business
- One spouse wishes to adopt a child
- One spouse receives a large inheritance
Prenups don’t ruin marriage, however, not speaking with your spouse about finances can ruin a marriage.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Prenup in Louisiana?
The price of a prenuptial agreement in Louisiana varies depending on the attorney you hire. We can all agree that not getting a prenup can be far more costly than hiring an attorney in the first place. Many family owned businesses won’t allow you to remain a partner if you don’t get a prenuptial agreement.
Do I Have to Get a Prenup If I’m Co-Owner of a Business?
Not always, but sometimes you may have to execute a prenup to remain co-owner of a business. Many family run businesses ask that prenups be executed by the owners so that there are no issues with the business ownership should any co-owners go through a divorce. It’s best to not leave it up to chance as your ex-spouse may attempt to claim part ownership during a divorce.
Do I Have to Renew My Prenup Yearly?
A prenuptial agreement is signed before the marriage and you do not have to renew it. The only time you will do a new prenup is if you divorce and get remarried.
Prenuptial agreements in Louisiana can range from simple to complex so you should seek the advice of a Louisiana family law attorney. Most attorneys offer free consultations. If you’re searching for an attorney and unsure how to begin, check out our article that explains how to find the best attorneys in Louisiana.
Disclaimer: this web post does not intend to give legal advice on any matter. You must speak with a lawyer for legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship can be established through this article.