If you are newly engaged, we know you are probably experiencing a period of joy and excitement. No one wants to consider the possibility of divorce, especially during such a happy time. You might be surprised to learn; however, that this is actually the perfect opportunity to speak with your partner and your family lawyer about a prenuptial agreement.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial or premarital agreement is essentially a contract that lists each person’s rights, responsibilities, and expectations upon dissolution of the marriage. Each such agreement will necessarily list: The property, including homes and businesses
- The property, including homes and businesses owned by the parties
- Assets, especially financial assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- The parties’ debts and liabilities and how they are to be treated going forward
Then, should a split occur, a prenup dictates how property, assets, liabilities, and potential spousal support will be handled. In short, such agreements ensure that, in the event of a divorce, assets are distributed fairly and equitably. A prenuptial agreement can also help smooth the separation process and mitigate future disputes, as both parties will have already agreed to its terms.
Who needs a prenup?
Truly, anyone who gets married can benefit from a prenup. In most cases, your lawyer will recommend a prenuptial agreement if either partner is entering the marriage with substantial assets or, perhaps, debts; or if one partner has the potential to earn significantly more income than the other partner over time.
A prenuptial agreement also has the potential to promote stability in a marriage. For example, if one partner is entering the marriage with a significant amount of debt, the prenup can arrange to keep the debt-free spouse’s assets separate and unencumbered. This protects the debt-free spouse from creditors.
How do I get a prenuptial agreement?
A competent family law lawyer can assist you in drawing up your prenuptial agreement. It is important to be aware that, for such an agreement to be valid, both partners must fully disclose all assets and liabilities. Moreover, in order to be considered valid in the state of Texas, the agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both parties.
Andrew J. Bolton, ESQ works extensively in family law matters, and proudly serves The Woodlands, Huntsville, and Conroe. Contact our office today to ensure your premarital agreement is valid and legally binding, and that it offers the highest level of protection for you and your family.
How is Texas different?
Like most things in our beautiful state, Texas family law is somewhat unique. Per the Texas Family Code, prenuptial agreements may contain contingencies. For example, a premarital agreement might specify that the couple must attend an agreed-upon number of hours of marital counseling prior to initiating divorce proceedings, or perhaps prior to one partner receiving spousal support. In such cases, if that partner files for divorce prior to fulfilling the required counseling, he or she may be ineligible to receive alimony or spousal support.
Your lawyer can explain the Texas Family Code in more detail, as well as assist you in drafting a prenuptial agreement where property or support are limited if the specified contingency is not met. If you are considering a prenup or even if you would just like some assistance understanding the options and protections that a prenuptial agreement can offer, call us today. We welcome the opportunity to help you start your marriage in the most secure position possible.
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