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Marriage agreements have existed for centuries. Today, what is most commonly called a "prenup" is a prenuptial contract drafted to address marital issues that would otherwise be governed by state law.

A prenup can also stipulate rights and obligations to be met during marriage. The contract usually lasts for the duration of the marriage, but it can be set to expire after a set number of years. The prenuptial contract only becomes effective when you get married in a legitimate wedding ceremony.

The Texas Family Code allows parties to enter into enforceable premarital agreements to contractually determine property issues. The prenup will remain in effect from the time of your wedding throughout your marriage, unless you set a designated time for it to expire. In the event of divorce, the premarital agreement will govern many of the decisions made during both separation and divorce.

Choosing to have meaningful conversations about finances, children, and other important topics at the beginning of your relationship is a great step toward avoiding a breakup in the future. Whether or not you want to codify these feelings into a legal document that governs your relationship is up to you.

Premarital agreements contain terms couples agree to if they divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be used to protect separate property, prevent delays in a divorce, and shield you from your spouse’s debts. Since Texas is a community property state, assets acquired during a marriage are presumed to be community property and are subject to being divided upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement can contractually alter Texas law with regard to community property and allow you and your future spouse to decide upfront which assets belong to each of you.

Texas Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers

In a prenuptial agreement, you outline what will happen in the event of a divorce. While it may sound like you are starting your marriage by discussing what’s going to happen when you split up, in reality you are thoughtfully planning for your future. To explore whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you, or for professional assistance negotiating, drafting, or reviewing a prenuptial agreement, contact Terry & Roberts today to discuss your needs with a skilled and knowledgeable Brazoria County family law attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions About Premarital Agreements

What is a premarital agreement?

A premarital agreement, often called a prenup or prenuptial agreement, is a formal document that details what happens to property and debt — including any assets or debt brought into the marriage and any assets or debt acquired during the marriage — in the event the marriage ends in divorce or a spouse’s death.

Who should get a prenup?

Many people who move forward with a prenup have assets they want to maintain separately, have a high net worth, anticipate high future earnings, have children from a previous relationship, and/or want to eliminate having to pay spousal support in the future.

What are the benefits of a prenup?

By determining how assets will be distributed and how other issues will be handled, couples can avoid the high costs of litigation in the event they end up divorcing. Prenups can give each spouse peace of mind knowing that their partner will be taken care of even if the worst should happen and they split up or a spouse dies.

Will my premarital agreement hold up in Texas?

If your prenup does not comply with Texas state law or if it contains provisions that are unfair to either party, the Texas courts can choose to invalidate the agreement. This is why it is so important to seek the counsel of an experienced Texas family law attorney when drafting a prenup. To be considered valid, a Texas prenup must:

  • Be signed by both parties before marriage
  • Be signed voluntarily — without coercion — by both parties
  • Not contain provisions that result in severe hardship for either party
  • Fully disclose the assets and debts of each party unless a waiver is obtained from the other party

Can child custody and child support be covered in a prenup?

Texas law does not allow for child custody and child support to be negatively impacted by premarital agreements. Texas courts determine custody issues based on the circumstances at the time of the divorce and what arrangement is in the best interests of the child or children. Child support rights belong to the child or children as a matter of law, so any attempts to usurp these rights will not be allowed.

Does each party need their own lawyer for a premarital agreement?

For a premarital agreement to be enforceable, Texas law only requires that it is written and signed by both parties. It is considered a best practice, however, for each party to have their own lawyer review the terms of the agreement before signing. This is necessary if you want to make sure each party understands the terms and to eliminate any contentions later that a party was coerced into signing and/or did not fully understand what they were signing.

Does Texas recognize post marital agreements?

Texas does recognize post-marital agreements, sometimes called marital postnuptial agreements or postnups. Like a premarital agreement, a postnup is a contract signed by a couple that spells out how property will be divided in the event the marriage ends. The only difference is the couples sign it after they are married. The agreement must be signed by each party voluntarily and cannot be unconscionable or result in hardship to either party.

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