Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Under Texas Law
Experienced Rockwall family law attorney drafts effective marital contracts
Given the high incidence of divorce, it is wise for anyone who is contemplating marriage to have a contingency plan in case the relationship does not work out. A premarital agreement can safeguard certain rights and prevent a potentially expensive contested divorce. At Heath Grob, Principal Law Firm, P.C. in Rockwall, our attorney advises clients on prenuptial agreements, negotiates terms and draft contracts. We also work with couples who are already married to execute postnuptial agreements. If you have concerns about your rights in the event of a divorce, the time to speak to an attorney is now. When properly executed, a marital contract can provide peace of mind and take pressure off your marriage.
What should be included in your Texas prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
A marital contract memorializes the couple’s agreement about certain issues they would have to settle during a divorce. These include:
- Division of assets — Under Texas community property law, spouses may keep separate property, but property acquired during the marriage is divided equally. A marital contract can designate certain assets and debts as separate property, so they are not subject to distribution as part of the shared estate.
- Division of debt — A couple can agree on a division of debts, which could be worthwhile if a concern exists about a spouse’s spending habits.
- Marital home — Couples can decide in advance who gets the marital home or if the residence will be sold as part of the divorce.
- Business — If you have a family-owned business, it’s important to decide ownership rights and what the company would look like after a divorce.
- Estate planning — Couples can stipulate matters of inheritance, which can be complicated, particularly if one or both parties has children from a previous marriage.
- Alimony — Couples can agree in advance about whether and how much spousal maintenance will be paid, by whom and for how long.
Although parents can address child custody and support issues, a court will not be bound by an agreement that the judge feels is not in the best interests of the children.
When to consider marital property agreements
There are certain circumstances that make a marital agreement more desirable, such as:
- Great disparities between the spouses in earning ability and/or personal assets and debt
- Tendency of one spouse to be a spendthrift or to run up debt
- A spouse’s choice to raise the children and manage the household in lieu of a career
- One spouse’s ties to a family business
- The handling of gifts, inheritances or trusts
- Spousal support terms
- Children from a previous marriage
The issue of forming a prenuptial agreement should be brought up well in advance of the wedding.
Reasons to avoid a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
A marital contract is only valid if both parties sign voluntarily after full disclosure. You should not sign a prenup if your intended springs the agreement on you at the last minute, refuses to negotiate, demands that you sign and/or doesn’t want you to show it to a lawyer. All of these are red flags. Ultimately, a court probably would not enforce the contract, but you would have to litigate the matter, which can be expensive.
However, when the process is transparent, and the parties have sound legal guidance, the negotiation of a marital agreement can be a positive experience. The process gives the parties the opportunity to clear the air between them, which can be very healthy for their relationship, even if the agreement never needs to be used.
Contact my Rockwall, TX law office to discuss prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Heath Grob, Principal Law Firm, P.C. advises clients on marital agreements in Rockwall and the surrounding areas of North Texas. Our office is conveniently located at 405 W. Kaufman Street, easily accessible from Routes 66 and 205. Please call 972-961-4587 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.