Most importantly, I want to protect myself from incurring debts that are not in my name (credit cards that I didn't know about, etc). Also, I intend to go into business for myself and want to protect the business as an indivisible asset. I understand that it is advisable for each party to hire their own attorney, but does it matter whose attorney drafts the document first? Help! Thanks in advance.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I agree in most part with Fran, with the caveat that you can have a community estate while also keeping only pieces separate. For instance, a business started after marriage but which is funded using separate property as startup capital can be separate in character if done properly, but if you used community funds in doing so, then whatever you said about its character in a prenup could be attacked.
How it is drafted is going to be incredibly fact specific to what your estates look like now and what they need to look like after marriage. Either attorney can draft it as long as the other is making sure to carefully review it and suggest revisions needed to protect his/her client's interests. You'll definitely need an attorney to advise you not only in how to draft it, but how to keep your estates or specific assets separate or partitioned thereafter.
Tristan Longino is licensed to practice law in Texas only. The above response is merely an opinion not intended as legal advice and is not intended to be relied upon. The above response does not create an attorney-client relationship. A local attorney should be consulted prior to taking any course of action.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
No it does not matter who drafts it first, as long as both of you completely agree to all the terms within.
You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
You need to sit down with an attorney and discuss how to keep your assets and debts separate. If you co-mingle your estates then you won't be protected. Unfortuantely, when you are married it is easy to co-mingle your estates.
You also need a post-nuptial prepared but any competent TX attorney can explain this document to you.
You will need to do things like never open a joint bank account and you will need to file separate tax returns with the IRS. That means that you will probably pay higher taxes each year since you will be filing married but separate -- but I'm not a CPA -- so you will need to retain the services of a CPA to assist you to make sure that you do this properly. (Yes, pay the money to have a CPA help you & you should both use the same CPA to make sure it is done properly and you are taking advantage of all tax deductions. I highly recommend A. C.harles "Chuck" Weiner, CPA -- located on Savoy Street close to the SW Freeway close to Hillcroft. My family has used him for over 25 years and we all highly recommend him & he has great pricing.)
Also, all assets must be not be co-owned - such as cars. However when you consider purchasing a home this is going to be a problem - especially if you want to use both incomes to try to qualify for a mortgage.
As you can see, keeping your estates are not easy - especially when children are born and they have expenses.
In summary, prenuptials are easy to write but are difficult to maintain in "real life". Yes, it can be done but it basically means that the two of you are "roommates" and many spouses do not like this arrangement in the long run.