When a couple goes through the divorce process in Texas, the court must resolve specific issues related to the couple’s property and finances. However, if spouses can agree in advance, the court typically bound by these terms. Agreeing early can give often give individuals peace of mind.
Once a spouse announces their divorce intention, it may be challenging to work through the financial issues constructively. To avoid conflicts, some couples create an agreement before marriage, also known as prenuptial agreements.
Parties can also agree and make an agreement after marriage called a postnuptial agreement. Texas postnuptial agreements are helpful after marriage because they outline the issues a couple can agree on in a divorce. To better understand the distribution of your assets and your ex-partner, it’s best to discuss this with an attorney. At the Law Office of Jason Wright, our Round Rock postnuptial agreement lawyers work with clients to create clear, enforceable agreements that protect their interests.
A postnuptial agreement also referred to as a “postnup agreement,” is similar to a prenuptial agreement. It is essentially a contract between spouses that explains how the court will resolve specific issues if the couple ever gets divorced. However, the primary difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement is that a postnup occurs after a couple is married. In contrast, a prenup occurs before a couple is married.
Under Texas Family Code § 4.001, spouses can include the following in a postnuptial agreement:
In a Texas divorce, the court will divide the couple’s community property based on what the court finds is “just and right division.” Regardless of which spouse purchased the property or which spouse’s name is listed as the property owner, the law presumes that any property obtained during the marriage is community property.
Not all property is subject to this rule. Either spouse can asset that something is not community property and instead their separate property. Examples of separate property include:
However, a spouse’s assets are not subject to division unless they agree to convert those assets to community property. Under Texas Family Code 4.202, any agreement to convert separate assets to community property must:
Absent each of these elements, the court will reject an agreement to convert separate assets to community property.
Texas law recognizes postnuptial agreements are valid contracts. The court will enforce the terms of a postnuptial agreement, provided it is accurate. That said, post-marital agreements raise some concerns because they can significantly impact a spouse’s ability to use the court system to enforce their rights. A court might scrutinize a postnup agreement to ensure it was the product of fair negotiation.
For example, a court may not enforce a postnuptial agreement if it is not voluntarily signed. Similarly, if the court finds that a deal was unconscionable or unfair to one party, the court may choose not to enforce the contract if:
Ultimately, it is up to the court to determine whether a postnuptial agreement is enforceable. Thus, it is imperative that an experienced attorney drafts these agreements.
Most spouses would agree that the thought of asking their spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement is a bit uncomfortable. However, these agreements have a fundamental purpose in certain situations. Often, a spouse may ask their partner to sign a postnup after something happens that jeopardizes the marriage. For example, if one spouse is unfaithful, the other may want assurances that the infidelity is genuinely in their past. Thus, they may ask their spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement.
Other times, a couple who plans to divorce and wants to save their time and money will agree on specific issues in advance. There are other reasons why a couple may desire a postnuptial agreement, including:
In each of these situations, a Round Rock postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you clarify your intentions and create a postnuptial agreement that is likely to be upheld by the courts. Call the Law Office of Jason Wright at 512-884-1221 today.
Postnuptial agreements are not without their limitations. For example, a couple cannot include an agreement about the conservatorship of a minor child. Why is this? It is because courts are required to make conservatorship decisions based on the child’s best interest, not on the parents’ agreement. A court will also invalidate any part of a postnuptial agreement that violates public policy or is otherwise illegal.
However, the court can use postnup agreements to resolve the following Texas marital issues:
While postnuptial agreements may not be necessary for every relationship, they are another tool that Austin couples can use. They can provide much-needed clarity in the event of a divorce.
If you recently developed the need for a postnuptial agreement, reach out to the Law Office of Jason Wright for immediate assistance. Attorney Wright is a respected Round Rock family law attorney with extensive experience helping individuals devise effective postnups that protect their interests and provide clarity.
At the Law Offices of Jason Wright, we take a practical approach to our client’s situations, employing commonsense solutions designed to accomplish their goals with as little uncertainty as possible.