How Do Marital Agreements work in Texas?
Whether you are about to get married or you’re preparing for a divorce, having a marital contract may be important for your relationship. Marital agreements may be created either before or after the wedding.
What is a prenuptial agreement in Texas?
A prenuptial agreement is made before the wedding with your soon-to-be spouse. With a family law attorney, you outline each party’s obligations (financial or otherwise) throughout the marriage.
What is a postnuptial agreement?
Postnuptial agreements can be created after your wedding day and have the same function as prenuptial agreements. Having a pre or postnuptial agreement in place is a reasonable arrangement for most couples. Though it is especially necessary for those with considerable or complex assets in the event of a divorce.
Reasons to Consider a prenuptial Agreement in Texas
It’s easy to see these marital agreements as unromantic, or even a potential source of conflict. However, they can be a pragmatic solution to worst-case scenarios that could impact your marriage, such as divorce or the death of one spouse. Since Texas is a no-fault divorce state, it’s in your best interest to maintain reasonable control over your assets.
Creating a prenuptial agreement with the help of an experienced divorce attorney will give you clear guidance on your level of ownership and control over your assets, as well as articulated protections if you are the financially weaker spouse.
The three most common reasons couples create a prenuptial agreement in Texas are:
1. Wealth Management
If you are more financially secure than your partner, a marital agreement could be used to protect the future of businesses or other financial assets. This may include a family business, gifts, inheritance, and debt. A marital agreement can also be used to safeguard the partner who is financially weaker to ensure they are not left unable to support themselves in the event of a divorce.
A prenup could include a list of assets that each spouse owns separately prior to the marriage, as well as assets that will be considered marital property that they own jointly. It is possible for a prenup to even include provisions for spousal maintenance/alimony and future assets, but it’s important to discuss these details thoroughly with your lawyer.
2. Planning for the Future
If you have strong religious or cultural beliefs that are important to continue upholding with your future children, then you can outline those important family expectations in a marital agreement. It’s an opportunity to clearly set expectations, and it can help a couple make future decisions even if the marriage ends.
Religious differences can become a factor in child custody disputes and marriage in general, so it’s important to understand the impact it could have.
3. Life is Uncertain
Life is rarely predictable. People change and expectations may change, too. A marital agreement created while you are both in a positive state of mind can help you to avoid conflict if divorce becomes necessary. Your marital agreement can detail how assets are divided and things are handled. This can be especially important in relation to spousal debt, wealth, or inheritance.
Although a marital agreement cannot predict your future or prevent life’s uncertainties, it can help prepare you for those risks and rewards. It helps lay the foundation for a successful marriage by providing security for both you and your new spouse.
How Does a Postnuptial Agreement Work?
In Texas, a postnuptial agreement functions much like a prenup but it is drafted and signed after the couple is already married. A postnuptial agreement will provide guidelines for how assets, debts, and any additional items included will be divided in the case of divorce.
Postnuptial agreements are especially useful for factoring in future assets, or when the financial status of one or both spouses has significantly changed.
A postnuptial agreement also allows you to update things you may have missed in your prenup, such as an intangible asset that you did not know how to place a value on.
However, a postnuptial agreement does not necessitate that you had a prenuptial agreement that you are updating. Even if you did not get a prenup before your wedding day, a postnuptial agreement allows you to still set up financial protections after you are already married.
Get Proper Legal Guidance on Your Marital Agreements
Planning marital agreements in Texas doesn’t need to be daunting. But it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney to help you draft and navigate your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Without consulting the proper experts, it’s easy to fall into pitfalls or oversights that you will later regret.
Kelly J. Capps has decades of experience with establishing thorough and protective marital agreements, including those that involve complex assets. Your prenup or postnup will be in good hands with Capps Law Firm! If you’re unsure about starting the process, or want more details, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help you through the next steps.