Many couples consider executing prenuptial agreements to resolve potential divorce issues before they even marry, while others review postnuptial options after marriage for some of the same reasons. Though the specifics vary, the goals of Texas pre and post nuptials are very similar. Parties are generally seeking to avoid contentious divorce litigation, establish certainty, reduce risk, and protect their interests via contract.
However, you put your rights at risk by trying to draft or negotiate these agreements without a legal background. Instead of going it alone, trust our team at Hargrave Law, PC to assist with the process. We can advise you on creating pre and post nuptials, review an agreement presented to you, and advocate for you in the event of disputes. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with a pre and post nuptial lawyer today, and read on for an overview of the relevant legal concepts.
Topics You Can Cover in a Pre or Post Nuptial Agreement
For the most part, you can address many of the same issues through a marital agreement you would work out when going through the divorce process. You may opt to include such topics as:
- Identification of community property and separate assets;
- The rights of each party regarding various assets, such as the right to buy, sell, encumber, leads, or otherwise manage property;
- Each party’s responsibilities regarding assets, especially payment of taxes, a mortgage, and preventing property from waste;
- Allocations of real estate and personal property if one spouse dies or the parties divorce;
- The details regarding spousal support, i.e., alimony;
- Preparing essential estate planning documents to effect the marital agreement, including a will, trust, or other structures;
- The handling of life insurance proceeds; and,
- Many other subjects.
Note that you can NOT cover child support, custody, and visitation in a pre or post nuptial agreement in Texas. There are statutes for purposes of calculating child support, and these laws supersede a contract by parents. In addition, the issues of custody and visitation are subject to the child’s best interests standard, not an agreement.
Requirements for Valid, Enforceable Pre and Post Nuptials
Regardless of what you seek to include in prenup or postnuptial, none of your intentions will be realized unless you comply with the Texas statute on Premarital and Marital Property Agreements. Our lawyers at Hargrave Law, PC can explain in more detail, but the key is enforceability: No matter what you cover in the agreement, a court will not enforce it unless it’s in writing and signed voluntarily by both parties.
In addition, the agreement cannot be “unconscionable,” meaning it needs to be fair and in compliance with the interests of justice. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be considered unconscionable if:
- One spouse didn’t fully disclose assets and debts; OR,
- A party didn’t have the opportunity to waive this disclosure, in writing; OR,
- One spouse did not and could not know of the other’s assets and debts.
There is one additional requirement for a postnuptial, since the circumstances are very different from a prenup. In the agreement, you must include at least some of your community property. Often, parties will state that they should each keep their own income.
Get Legal Help from a Pre and Post Nuptial Attorney
As you can see, there’s much more to pre and post nuptial agreements than drafting and signing. It’s essential to comply with Texas law for purposes of enforceability, and you have interests to protect in negotiating appropriate terms. Our lawyers at Hargrave Law, PC can assist with all critical tasks, so please contact our offices in Bedford, Carrollton, or Grapevine, TX to speak to a member of our team. You can call 817-282-0679 or go online to set up a consultation today.