Experienced Family Law Attorney for Marital Agreements in Shreveport/Bossier City, LA

There was a time not too long ago when pre-marital and post-marital agreements were widely frowned upon by society. This is likely because many people felt it turned something that was meant to be sacred and holy into a financial matter, or rather that it doomed a marriage right from the start.

Thankfully, the general population has collectively moved on from these outdated ideas and accepted that sometimes things simply don’t work out. The truth is that not all marriages last forever. In fact, plenty of them don’t — and that’s okay! Not only that, but prenuptial and postnuptial agreements do more than just block the other spouse from receiving certain assets in the event of a divorce. They can also protect one spouse from party creditors in the event of debts and liabilities on behalf of the other.

The truth is, there are a number of reasons why creating a marital agreement can be incredibly beneficial for both parties involved. If you are interested in creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier family law attorney Michael J. Vergis is here to guide you through the process and make sure everything is legally sound.

To speak with an experienced Louisiana prenuptial and postnuptial agreements lawyer, call The Law Office of Michael J. Vergis at (318) 698-3724 or reach out online today.

Louisiana Prenuptial and Postnuptial Lawyer

What is a Nuptial Agreement?

A nuptial agreement, also known as a marital or matrimonial agreement, is a legally binding contract between spouses that outlines the terms for how certain assets, property, and debts should be divided in the event of a divorce. It can also outline the conditions for future spousal support. 

The legal definition, as prescribed by Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2328, is as follows: 

A matrimonial agreement is a contract establishing a regime of separation of property or modifying or terminating the legal regime. Spouses are free to establish by matrimonial agreement a regime of separation of property or modify the legal regime as provided by law. The provisions of the legal regime that have not been excluded or modified by agreement retain their force and effect.

Louisiana is a community property state, which means that any financial interests, including assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, are considered jointly owned by both spouses. However, with a marital agreement, the spouses can set their own rules regarding what will be considered separate property if the couple decides to go their separate ways. For those who wish to protect individual assets, creating such a contract can be crucial. 

Prenuptial Agreement Louisiana

Prenuptial agreements, also commonly referred to as prenups, are a type of matrimonial agreement that defines the terms of a couple’s financial future if the marriage ends. These agreements allow couples to establish their own terms regarding the division and management of assets, and even to opt out of the community property regime entirely. This means couples can decide how their asset division will be handled in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse instead of automatically defaulting to Louisiana’s community property rules. 

A prenuptial agreement must be drafted and executed before the marriage takes place, though it only goes into effect once the couple becomes legally married. In Louisiana, to be considered valid, the agreement must be signed by both spouses, a notary, and two witnesses. 

Louisiana Prenuptial Lawyer

Can You Get a Prenup After Marriage?

In Louisiana, you can’t create a traditional prenuptial agreement after marriage because a prenup, by definition, is an agreement made before marriage. However, married couples can still enter into a similar matrimonial agreement known as a postnuptial agreement. This agreement allows spouses to alter their community property regime after they are married, though they must meet specific legal standards different from those of a prenup to ensure they are enforceable.

Postnuptial Agreement Louisiana

As mentioned, a postnuptial agreement, also known as a postnup, is similar to a prenuptial agreement except that it is actually created during the marriage rather than before. Much like prenups, postnuptial agreements provide arrangements for how things like property, assets, debt, and income may be distributed between parties after a divorce. 

There are several reasons a couple might seek a postnuptial agreement, one of the most common being a significant change in financial status. Other reasons include protecting assets for children from a prior marriage or relationship, separating earnings from a family business, and facilitating tax and estate planning.

Unlike a prenup, postnuptial agreements do require judicial authorization in order to be considered valid. 

Louisiana Postnuptial Lawyer

Should I Get a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?

Many people wrongfully assume that prenuptial agreements are only useful for the wealthy upper class or those with significant assets. The fact is, both prenups and postnups can be extremely beneficial to couples of all social classes. Not only do these agreements provide property and asset protection for each spouse, but they also cover individual debts. With this in mind, think of these marital agreements as a sort of shield that protects you from potentially taking on your spouse’s liabilities.

Pre-marital and post-marital agreements are also useful in the sense that they allow individuals to keep certain significant items in their rightful possession. For example, take a precious family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation. Including this heirloom in the agreement can ensure that it remains in the intended recipient’s hands and does not become marital property eligible for division.

There are many reasons why couples of all backgrounds and income levels should look into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Both are intended to help couples prepare for the worst, because unfortunately sometimes the worst does happen. But instead of looking at either agreement as a pessimistic view on a marriage, consider them a safety precaution that will benefit both parties in the long run. Best case, the agreement will never have to go into effect. Worst case, at least you are prepared. 

What is Included in Prenuptial Agreements?

Every marriage is unique, and a marital agreement reflects that. As such, one prenuptial agreement is never going to look exactly the same as the next. However, in a broad sense, both prenups and postnups typically include clear distinctions of what property belongs to each spouse in the event of a divorce. That is, of course, when it comes to financial assets and debts. You may determine things like who will keep the marital home or car as well as who will need to pay mortgage, taxes, or insurance on them. 

You may also include conditions that establish where retirement funds will go, who takes on student loans, and who gets business assets. Another common inclusion is outlining the terms regarding whether and how much spousal support/alimony one spouse will pay to the other in the event of a divorce. However, things like child support or child custody generally cannot be included in such agreements.

Shreveport Prenup Attorney

Will the Court Ever Refuse to Enforce a Matrimonial Agreement?

Courts in Louisiana will almost always enforce and adhere to marital agreements such as prenups and postnups. However, there are some exceptions. These exceptions may include the following:

  • The agreement was not fully or properly signed. Both spouses, a notary, and two witnesses must sign the document.
  • One spouse did not freely or voluntarily sign the document.
  • One spouse was not mentally competent when signing the document.
  • The document has serious mistakes that make the couple’s intent for the agreement unclear.
  • One of the spouses was forced, threatened, coerced, or tricked into signing the agreement.
  • One spouse did not fully disclose assets and debts to the other.

The best way to ensure your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will be properly enforced is to hire an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with drafting and executing such documents.

Shreveport-Bossier Prenuptial and Postnuptial Attorney

How An Experienced Family Lawyer Can Help

The prenuptial and postnuptial agreement process in Louisiana can be complex, especially when it comes to ensuring the agreement reflects the best interests of both parties. That is why prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyers can be so beneficial when drafting such contracts. In addition to protecting the best interests of their clients, family law attorneys can make sure that all legal requirements are met, such as proper documentation and adherence to the specific provisions stipulated by Louisiana law, which is essential for the agreement’s enforceability.

Michael J. Vergis, a seasoned family law attorney in Shreveport-Bossier City, is well-equipped to assist couples in crafting both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. He provides invaluable guidance on how to structure these agreements to protect individual assets, manage debts, and arrange for any spousal support effectively. 

Whether drafting a new agreement or revising an existing one, Attorney Michael Vergis ensures that all legal protections are in place, preventing potential disputes and providing peace of mind for all involved.

Bossier City Prenup and Postnup Attorney

Contact an Experienced Shreveport-Bossier Family Law Attorney at the Law Office of Michael J. Vergis Today

If you are considering postnuptial agreements, prenuptial agreements, or if you need help with any other family law matter, Michael J. Vergis is here to help. As an experienced Bossier City divorce lawyer, Mr. Vergis regularly assists clients with a variety of related legal matters, including marital agreements, child custody, child support, spousal support, property divisions, and more.

Call The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis at (318) 698-3724 or complete the online contact form found below to get started today.