Fort Worth divorce lawyer: What do diminished value claims and prenups have in common?

I mean other than two legal issues that I can help you with? Diminished value claims and prenups have two things in common: 1. they both preserve the value of property; and 2. they both become legal issues after a wreck. Ok, so diminished value claims have to do with car accidents but prenups have to do with marital property. So why am I writing about these two subjects together? Let’s call it a mental exercise in legal analysis. First let’s start off briefly describing each:

What is a prenup?

A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a contract by two parties that becomes effective upon marriage. Typically prenups deal with property ownership although they can also set certain conditions on what may happen in the event of divorce, such as an agreement for no spousal support. The prenup will typically address how property owned before marriage will be classified as either separate property or community property and how property acquired during the marriage will be classified.

Most people think of a prenup as setting up the marriage for failure because the parties have plotted out the divorce. That is not an entirely unfair belief, especially if the prenup is presented to you. Prenups are a safeguard against a messy division of property in a Texas divorce. However, there are other reasons to obtain a prenup. They can have certain estate planning purposes as well as protecting assets from the other spouse’s creditors. A good place to start considering whether a prenup is right for you is with this other blog post.

If you believe you may need a prenup for your marriage then you should contact divorce lawyers right away about preparing the agreement. In Texas a prenup’s enforcement in a divorce will rest upon whether:

  1. The language of the prenup agreement and its validity under the Texas Family Code; and
  2. The procedure involved to obtain the prenup and whether it was a fair and voluntary process.

What is a diminished value claim?

A diminished value claim is a claim for the loss of market value on your car when another driver causes damage to it. Most people will not pay the same price for a used car with an accident history as the same car with no accident history. Even if the restoration of the car is mechanically and cosmetically 100% of the pre-accident condition, people still consider the accident history when purchasing vehicles. That means even when another driver damages your vehicle through no fault of your own, you lose money when you try to sell or trade in the car.

That lost market value is recoverable in Texas against the other driver or the other driver’s insurer, although insurance companies do not like to pay on these claims. (Read more about dealing with insurance companies and diminished value claims here.) Insurers want to pay for repairs and resolve your claim. That doesn’t mean you cannot be made whole for all of your losses related to the accident.

What do these things have in common?

Well, as I mentioned above, both diminished value claims and prenups deal with property and they both matter when a wreck occurs. Another key commonality is that for both prenups and diminished value claims, hiring divorce lawyers can be effective in preserving your legal position. Ok, sure, I want you to hire my firm for all your diminished value and prenup needs; but there are specific reasons why hiring a lawyer for both of these issues really makes a difference.

Under the Texas Family Code and interpretations by Texas family courts, one of the factors that a court will consider in determining whether a prenup is enforceable is whether each party had an attorney. A prenup is enforceable with no attorneys involved; but family judges are less likely to enforce a prenup without attorneys.

Hiring a Texas attorney for a prenup

That is especially true when enforcement of the prenup is against a party that did not have a divorce lawyer. Enforcing a prenup is a legally technical issue. What steps you took before the prenup can make a huge difference whether it will be enforced down the road. Hiring counsel to make sure the right steps occur at the time the prenup is signed will not only improve your chances of enforcing the prenup but may also avoid paying more legal fees to enforce the prenup. In the event of a divorce with a prenup the enforcement of the agreement is one of the first things the divorce lawyers will review. After all, the prenup will weigh heavily on the property division in the divorce. If there is a prenup, you definitely need to consider hiring a divorce attorney to represent you. The legal battle over the application of a prenup is complex and may greatly affect the results of your Texas divorce.

Texas divorce lawyers in Bedford, Texas

Additionally, diminished value claims can be very difficult to settle without the assistance of legal counsel. Insurance claims adjusters do not want to pay on the claims. They know that most people who bring these claims on their own do not understand how diminished value works. So the adjuster can leverage his or her experience to the detriment of the claimant.

Often insurance companies tell claimants diminished value is not covered by the insurance policy or this claim has no value. On older cars it is usually difficult to obtain a diminished value claim because the lost value is usually minimal. In most other situations there is a fair settlement to reach; but the adjuster may not be willing to play fair with you. An attorney experienced with diminished value claims can level the playing field.

 

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