Prenuptial agreements are contracts agreed to between two individuals before they get married or enter into a civil partnership. A prenup provides details concerning how assets will be divided if the marriage or civil partnership ends. While many couples do not think prenups are needed, or are just for the rich and famous, they can be incredibly beneficial if the worst should happen. A prenuptial agreement can offer protection to both parties in the relationship. Whether seeking to protect property or finances, ensure a child receives an inheritance, or avoid an expensive and lengthy argument about who gets what in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement will help safeguard the most important parts of your life.
Many of the following common clauses are included in prenuptial agreements in Texas:
Identification of Property and Debts
The most common clause included in a prenuptial agreement created by an engaged couple is an identification of the property and debts owed by each party before the marriage. The purpose of this is to identify what each party’s separate property will be after the marriage begins.
Elimination of Community Property
Texas is a community property state, which generally means any property acquired during marriage is owned equally by both spouses. This can cause quite a few problems during divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement can eliminate future community property, changing how property is seen by the state, as everything is kept separate. Each spouse would only own his or her own separate property, which makes it much easier to divide assets in a divorce.
Management of Household Expenses
Something that commonly arises in prenuptial agreements is how household expenses will be handled. There may be a need for a household account to be set up to pay for daily expenses, household bills, the mortgage, children’s items, and more costs incurred during marriage. This clause can detail how that account will be funded, what it can pay for, and how it may be divided if there is a divorce.
The question of whether or not a party will receive spousal support comes up frequently when discussing prenuptial agreements. In a prenuptial agreement, both parties can agree to a set amount of spousal support in the event of divorce, or alimony can be eliminated completely.
Award of Marital Residence
A prenup can determine what will happen to the marital residence upon divorce. Who will occupy the residence during the divorce process? How long is the other party allowed to live in the house? Is the house going to be sold on the open market or will it be given to one of the spouses in the divorce? All of these questions can be answered in the prenuptial agreement.
When two individuals enter into a marriage, they can have varying degrees of financial stability. If the spouses would like to keep their finances completely separate, that can be outlined in a prenuptial agreement. Keeping finances – including debt – separate can help avoid pitfalls in the future. If a couple divorces in a community property state like Texas, and one spouse has significantly more debt than the other, both will have to share that debt after the divorce. A detailed clause in a prenup can prevent that from occurring.
Property Distribution After Death
A prenuptial agreement can be an important part of a detailed estate plan, as the distribution of community property upon death of either spouse can be agreed upon. No one wants to think about their death; however, the distribution of property after a loved one passes can be very stressful if there are no instructions left behind for family members to follow. Wealth and property accumulated during the marriage can be preserved for your children and/or specific family members.
If you are getting married, but have children from a previous relationship, then it is important to add provisions in your prenuptial agreement that protect your child’s future. The agreement can help guarantee those children inherit all or a portion of your assets. If you do not have children from a different relationship, a prenuptial agreement can still be helpful for your future children. The agreement can detail how the children will be educated, what religion the children will observe, and how much the couple intends to contribute to the children’s college savings. While child support, child custody, and visitation rights cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, it is important for parents and future parents to do their best to protect their children.
Brazoria County Family Law Attorneys
The importance of a prenuptial agreement cannot be overstated. You deserve the protection a prenup can provide. While these contracts can be difficult to discuss prior to marriage, an experienced family law attorney can ensure the process goes smoothly. At Terry & Roberts, our attorneys will help you determine if a prenuptial agreement is right for your marriage and can draft and/or review an agreement. Contact our office today to discuss your needs with a skilled Brazoria County family law attorney.