Marriage is a legal partnership. And like other partnerships, soon-to-be spouses have certain expectations about what the marriage will look like. People grow apart, priorities change over time, parenting differences become impossible to ignore; while divorce is not something that anyone hopes to go through, sometimes it is the best option. However, divorce can be incredibly stressful. Much of this stress stems from the uncertainty around the process. A prenuptial agreement is one way couples can eliminate much of this uncertainty. At the Law Office of Jason Wright, we have extensive experience working with individuals to develop comprehensive and effective premarital agreements. With our help, you can get rid of the “what ifs” so you can focus on enjoying your new life together.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, is an agreement between soon-to-be spouses that outlines what will happen in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a binding legal contract, and once a couple enters into the agreement, they are bound by its terms.
When it comes to divorce, Texas law imposes a set of default rules. For example, Texas is a community property state, meaning when someone files for divorce, the law will presume all property belongs equally to both spouses. By creating a premarital agreement, couples can devise a set of rules that works for them.
What Can a Texas Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
Prenuptial agreements allow couples to clarify what will happen in the event of a divorce. For example, a Texas prenup can cover the following:
• Each spouse’s right to use or transfer property after a divorce;
• Each spouse’s rights and obligations related to property acquired during the marriage; and
• How the couple’s property will be distributed in the event of death or divorce.
Additionally, a premarital agreement could provide for different rules based on the reason for divorce. For example, you may include specific language providing for a different property distribution agreement if the marriage ends due to a spouse’s infidelity.
However, some issues are beyond the scope of a premarital agreement. For example, a prenup cannot include an agreement about child custody. This is because child custody determinations focus on what is in the child’s best interest, which is something the court must decide. Similarly, you cannot include an agreement about child support obligations, as the right to child support technically belongs to the child, even though the payments are made to the custodial parent.
Spouses are also prohibited from including any terms that violate public policy or would result in a violation of the law. For example, you cannot include a term allowing either party to take on another spouse. Bigamy (being married to more than one person at a time) is illegal in Texas, and courts will not enforce any provision leading to an illegal outcome.
Who Can Benefit from a Premarital Agreement?
The rate of divorce in the United States hovers around 40 percent. Thus, any couple can benefit from the certainty provided by a prenuptial agreement. However, prenuptial agreements are particularly useful in marriages in which:
• One or both spouses were previously married or had children from a prior relationship;
• One or both spouses have a lot of debt;
• One spouse has significantly more assets than the other spouse; and
• The spouses want to keep their finances separate.
Are All Prenups Valid?
As a general rule, prenuptial agreements are valid in Texas. However, courts tend to look closely at the terms of a premarital agreement because, in some cases, they involve a less wealthy spouse giving up important rights. Thus, prenups must be reasonable to both sides; otherwise, a court may not enforce the agreement. If a couple is interested in creating a prenuptial agreement, it is good for each spouse to have their own attorney review the document to ensure that it represents their interests. Not only will this ensure that the agreement is equitable to both sides, but it will increase the likelihood of the court upholding the agreement.
If you are about to get married and want to learn more about Texas prenuptial agreements, contact the Law Office of Jason Wright to schedule a confidential consultation. Attorney Wright is an experienced divorce and family law attorney who takes a practical approach to each case he handles. He understands that not every issue has to turn into a fight and takes every step to resolve issues amicably whenever possible. At the same time, as an experienced trial lawyer, Attorney Wright commands an impressive presence in the courtroom, which he uses to advocate on behalf of his clients whenever necessary. To learn more and schedule a confidential consultation today, reach out to the Law Office of Jason Wright at 512-884-1221. You can also reach Attorney Wright through the firm’s online contact form.
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