Despite that fact that no one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, sadly it nonetheless is an inevitable outcome for a significant percentage of Texas marriages. For many couples, it is only after they experience the complexities of divorce that they realize they should have entered into a prenuptial agreement in the first place.
Indeed, prenuptial agreements can be particularly useful when Texas couples have acquired significant assets or property prior to marriage, including businesses. These agreements can greatly simplify the entire property division process by designating ownership before a dispute can even arise. Often times, prenuptial agreements give couples the confidence of knowing how property will be divided should things not work out.
In recent years, prenuptial agreements have become increasingly popular as more couples discover the advantages such agreements can provide. In fact, a 2013 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that 63 percent of divorce attorneys have noticed an increase in prenuptial agreement during the last three years.
Prenuptial agreements in Texas
Most jurisdictions have their own distinct rules when it comes to the creation of prenuptial agreements. In Texas, the state's Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs the enforceability of prenuptial agreements, which are also referred to as premarital agreements. In particular, this Act defines a premarital agreement as any agreement made in contemplation of marriage between prospective spouses. Under Texas law, premarital agreements are not valid unless in writing and signed by both spouses, and only become effective once the marriage takes place.
Importantly, premarital agreements in Texas may be able to preemptively address several crucial property-related issues, including:
- The apportionment and disposition of property upon a couple's separation, divorce or death
- The modification or elimination of alimony
- The rights and obligations of each spouse in any of their property, whenever or wherever acquired or located
- The right to buy, sell, transfer, assign or otherwise manage and control property
- The ownership rights in proceeds from a life insurance policy
However, while the list above includes some of the more common issues addressed in premarital agreements, it is not an exclusive list. Indeed, the law related to prenuptial agreements can be quite complex in many respects, which is why it is typically best to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney if you are getting married and want to obtain the security a premarital agreement can provide. The failure to retain expert counsel may result is the loss of property you have spent years acquiring should the marriage end in divorce.