Should I Get a Prenup Before Marriage?
Texas Family Lawyers Explain the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two parties, entered before marriage, that defines how certain property should be divided in the event of a dissolution of marriage. Prenuptial agreements are useful for prospective spouses with substantial personal assets, children, business dealings and other significant property.
It is an unfortunate truth that a sizeable percentage of marriages end in divorce. For this reason, it is wise for couples to consider their financial futures before entering marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a useful tool to ensure that you retain what is yours in the worst case scenario: divorce. Family law attorney Jared Julian, who is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, can walk you through the process of creating a strong prenuptial agreement to help you protect your property. Think of it as an insurance policy – one you hope to never use, but you’ll be glad you have it if you need it.
Should I Get a Prenup in Texas?
While discussing a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse may not be the most romantic of conversations, it is an important one to have. Prenuptial agreements have many benefits, even beyond the simple division of marital assets. If you are in the following situations, a prenuptial agreement may be a good idea:
- One or both spouses are bringing property into a marriage.
- One spouse has significantly greater assets than the other.
- One or both spouses are remarrying.
- One of the parties has children from a previous marriage.
- One or both spouses have significant debt.
- One or both spouses wish to have greater control of the estate after death.
Texas is a community property state. This means that most property acquired during a marriage will be divided in divorce. Any separate property belongs to the original owner. The courts assume that all property is community property unless the party claiming separate property can prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, a prenuptial agreement can prove invaluable in clarifying your individual financial and property rights.
What Makes a Prenup Valid Under Texas Law?
Under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), a legally valid prenuptial agreement in Texas follows these requirements:
- The agreement is in writing.
- The agreement does not have to be supported by consideration. This means, essentially, that one party is not consenting to the agreement to obtain something of value from the other party.
- The prenuptial agreement must be written and signed “in contemplation of marriage,” meaning that the parties have a definite intent to be married.
Generally speaking, Texas courts will uphold valid prenuptial agreements, with very few exceptions. That is one reason why couples seeking prenuptial agreements should discuss the terms with a family law attorney. Our law firm recommends that each party has his or her own attorney to ensure that both sides receive a fair deal.
When Can the Courts Void a Prenuptial Agreement in Texas?
Under certain circumstances, the courts can rule a prenuptial agreement unenforceable. Texas law states that the courts can void prenuptial agreements if:
- The terms of the agreement were unconscionable during the signing. An unconscionable prenuptial agreement is so grossly one-sided that a judge would wonder why one party agreed to sign it. An example of this would be a prenup dictating that one party keeps all previous and marital property and does not have to pay spousal support to the other upon divorce.
- The parties did not sign an agreement voluntarily.
- One or both parties failed to provide fair and reasonable disclosure of property and financial obligations such as debt.
- One or both parties did not or reasonably could not have had adequate knowledge and understanding of the other party’s financial situation.
- Unforeseen circumstances have changed the nature of the relationship in such a way that the prenuptial agreement is unconscionable. For example, if one party waives his or her right to alimony but is no longer able to support himself or herself, the courts may invalidate a prenup.
It is also possible to modify a prenuptial agreement after marriage. You can eliminate or adjust terms that both parties agree to change. It is even possible to revoke the entire prenuptial agreement with the consent of both parties.
Need a Prenuptial Agreement? Lewisville Family Law Attorney Helping Couples
Signing a prenup does not mean that you are considering divorce or that your marriage will end. Prenuptial agreements are simply tools for people to protect themselves and their property in the event of a divorce.
If you and your spouse are thinking of signing a prenuptial agreement, or if you need help modifying a standing prenuptial agreement, our Texas family lawyers can help make sure that your agreement is valid and fair. Our staff has been helping people with family law matters for over a decade. You can reach our Lewisville office at (972) 315-6222. You can also fill out our online form and we will reach out to you as soon as possible. Our law firm offers free consultations for clients seeking help with matters of Texas family law.