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Pre and Post-Marital Agreements

Galveston Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

Galveston Pre- and Post-Marital Agreement Attorney — Galveston & League City, Texas

Nobody wants a marriage to end in failure. But we all know the reality: as many as half of all U.S. marriages ultimately end in divorce. Given the inherent complexity of unwinding a couple’s finances and property, it is often a prudent move to sign a prenuptial or post-marital agreement.

Such agreements are not “planning for failure” so much as avoiding the need for potentially extended and costly litigation should the marriage end. A well-drafted pre- or post-marital agreement should give both spouses peace of mind that if life takes an unexpected turn, they will not squander their assets battling each other in divorce court. At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our experienced Galveston County family law attorneys can help you draft and review an agreement that best fits your situation.

What a Pre- or Post-Marital Agreement Can (and Cannot) Do for You

Pre- and post-marital agreements are legal and enforceable in Texas. Chapter 4 of the Family Code spells out the requirements for such agreements. Premarital agreements are obviously made in “contemplation of marriage” and only take effect if the parties actually marry. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses–Texas courts will not enforce an oral agreement. The actual terms of the agreement are largely up to the spouses, except that a premarital agreement cannot be used to determine child support. But here are some of the other issues that may be addressed by an agreement:

  • Each spouse’s interest or rights in property owned by the other spouse;
  • The disposition of property upon divorce or the death of either spouse;
  • Whether or not one spouse will pay spousal support (maintenance) to the other in the event of separation or divorce; an
  • Whether either spouse must modify their will, living trust, or other estate planning document to carry out the terms of the premarital agreement.

After the parties marry, they can agree to revoke and/or modify a pre-marital agreement by executing a new written agreement. Texas law also permits already married spouses to sign a “marital property agreement,” which addresses the “partition or exchange” of property acquired during the marriage, i.e. “community property.”

What You Can and Cannot Include In A Prenup

A decision to begin and end a marriage is up to you and your significant other. Creating a premarital agreement doesn’t exempt you from state law and other divorce processes needed to finalize the divorce. While they don’t exempt you from these processes and laws, they can make the process easier and bring financial peace of mind to the marriage. You may ask yourself what you can or cannot include in these agreements.

What You Can (or Should) Include

Knowing what to include in a premarital agreement is obviously up to each couple. It is important to know what is considered marital property (assets the couple acquired during their marriage) and separate property (assets each party owned prior to the marriage or received through inheritance).

If you or your spouse have children from a previous marriage, you can include inheritance and property distribution to those children from previous marriages or relationships. By doing this, it helps to ensure no mistakes occur negatively affecting your children.

Marriage is a partnership and with this partnership comes joint responsibility: financially, in the household, parental, and other general responsibilities that may come down the road. It is important to detail each spouse’s responsibilities in regards to these parts of the marriage. If in the event of divorce, knowing who will manage the joint bank accounts, household expenses, how alimony is dispersed, etc. can make the entire process much smoother.

What You Cannot (Or Shouldn’t) Include

It should be common knowledge that including illegal acts or items in your prenuptial agreement is prohibited. If anything illegal is included in the prenuptial agreement, it could invalidate the entire document. If you are unsure if what you are wanting to include in your premarital agreement is legal, call our Galveston prenuptial agreement attorney.

There are other items that are left up to the court to decide such as child support and custody issues that cannot be included in the prenup.

People (usually) don’t get married just to file for divorce in the future. They want to build happy, healthy, fruitful lives together. With this being said, including anything encouraging divorce for monetary benefit is highly discouraged. If anything is found encouraging divorce for financial gain in the prenuptial agreement, it is more than likely to be set aside.

Get Independent Advice Before Signing a Marital Agreement

Any pre- or post-marital agreement assumes that both spouses have made a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of their respective property. In other words, if one spouse is hiding assets, that can invalidate an agreement. Similarly, a court will decline to enforce an agreement if it is “unconscionable” or there is evidence that one spouse did not sign it “voluntarily.”

It is also a good idea for both spouses to be separately represented by a qualified Galveston pre-and post-marital agreements attorney. Having separate representation will give the final agreement more legitimacy in the eyes of the court. Get the details sorted out before you sign any premarital agreement with an experienced Galveston prenuptial agreement lawyer today. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates at (281) 280-0100.