A post-nuptial agreement is valid in Texas if it meets specific requirements under state law. You and your spouse can draft this type of contract after getting married. It can include various terms, such as how assets will be divided in a divorce and creating estate plans.
Although creating a post-nuptial agreement seems unnecessary and entirely arduous, it could foster a better relationship between you and your partner. It can also prevent future issues from arising if you make arrangements proactively.
What Is a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
A post-nuptial agreement outlines the expectations of each party during the marriage and also, if they get divorced, or one person dies. It is a legal document each spouse must sign to be valid and legally enforceable. It must also meet various requirements and can’t contain some specific arrangements, such as child support.
Many couples choose to create a post-nuptial agreement to protect their assets and resolve potential sources of contention if the marriage fails. Since finances are often disputed during a divorce, establishing a plan to divide property between the spouses in a post-nuptial agreement could prevent a contentious court battle in the future.
Post-nuptial agreements are also beneficial if the financial standing of each spouse is significantly different. For example, if you have high-value assets and very little debt but your spouse has a large amount of debt, you can use the agreement to protect yourself. Depending on what you include in the contract, you could avoid acquiring your spouse’s debt.
Post-Nuptial Agreements in Texas
A valid post-nuptial agreement must meet particular criteria, including:
- Written document – You must outline the terms of your post-nuptial agreement in writing.
- Signatures – Each party must sign the contract themselves.
- Voluntary arrangement – A couple can only enter into this type of agreement if fraud or duress does not exist.
- Competency – Both spouses must have the legal capacity to enter into a post-nuptial agreement and understand the terms it contains.
- Full disclosure – Each person signing the document must fully disclose all owned debts and assets.
A range of changing circumstances within your marriage and individual lives might make you consider creating a post-nuptial agreement. Examples include:
- One or both of you pursue a business venture
- Your spouse accumulates excessive debt from gambling, poor spending habits, or another factor
- One of you considers becoming a stay-at-home parent
- One person receives an inheritance from a family member
- You encounter problems in the marriage and want to seek counseling
- You buy real estate or another significant asset together
It’s also a good idea to create a post-nuptial agreement if you never drafted a prenuptial agreement with your spouse before getting married.
Elements of a Post-Nuptial Agreement
Post-nuptial agreements typically include these common elements:
- Property division a separation or divorce occurs
- Which spouse will manage and control the assets, such as maintaining the rights to sell, making transfers, or disposing of the property
- Whether spousal support will be a part of a divorce settlement and the terms included in the contract
- How to manage a family business while married or if one spouse dies
- Transferring assets and funds to children from a previous marriage upon death or divorce
- Estate planning matters, including creating a trust or will
The contract you and your spouse draft can include a number of terms you want to address in your marriage and while planning for the unexpected. You should consult an experienced lawyer to assist you with the process to ensure you don’t make any mistakes and that the agreement is valid.
How We Could Help
The Bedford family lawyers of Hargrave Law, PC, have represented clients in Bedford and Grapevine for over 20 years. We’re familiar with state laws and procedures regarding post-nuptial agreements. When you hire us, we will guide you through each step and help you draft a contract that protects you and your rights.
If you want to discuss creating a post-nuptial agreement, do not hesitate to call us at (817) 282-0679 for a confidential consultation.