But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? Prenuptial Agreements in Louisiana
Marriage is not the stable institution that it was 100 or even 25 years ago. What was once a brick house is now made of cards and can be blown over at either spouse’s whim. In Louisiana, can you protect yourself against this uncertainty with a prenuptial agreement? Of course, prenuptial agreements cannot guarantee a marriage will last forever or even more than 30 minutes. They can, however, reduce and sometimes eliminate some of divorce’s adverse ﬁnancial impacts.
Be forewarned that asking your signiﬁcant other to negotiate and sign one is likely to send the wrong message. Why does a person who promises to love you until death need a marriage contract? There are many circumstances in which prenuptial agreements serve a worthwhile purpose for both parties. A prenuptial agreement might make sense in the following examples:
- If you and your fiancee both have substantial estates and children from former marriages, a prenuptial agreement can simplify the passage of those estates to your heirs and legatees at your deaths.
- If you are wealthy and your ﬁancee is not, a prenuptial agreement can protect you from “gold digging”.
- If you and your ﬁancee have a pragmatic attitude toward marriage and see it more as a social convention than a bond for life, a pre-nuptial agreement can keep your respective ﬁnancial affairs separate and facilitate the separation of your estates if you decide to go your separate ways.
If you are contemplating a prenuptial agreement or if your ﬁancee has asked you to sign one, it is critical that you consult with a lawyer concerning its terms. There are strict requirements for the execution and timing of such agreements. You should each have separate lawyers and time to consider what is being proposed. No one should be presented with a marriage contract on the steps of the church or at the rehearsal dinner. Finally, before signing one, remember that your ﬁnancial relationship with your husband or wife will be governed, in large measure, by the document that you are signing. Beware of buyer’s remorse.