Some Texas couples who are getting married may want to consider a prenuptial agreement, but this needs to be a document that they prepare together and agree on. One woman who was given a cohabitation agreement to sign before moving in with her boyfriend found that it included provisions in case they got married that she was unwilling to agree to.
One of the provisions was that she would waive any claim to alimony if they married and then divorced. The other was that she would waive any financial claim to the home. The man had bought the home with the help of his mother. Upon moving in, the plan was for her to pay a reduced rent. However, the clause would have applied no matter how long they were married or how much money she had put toward the mortgage on the home. The man’s attorney had prepared a document that would protect him, but it gave no consideration to the woman’s needs.
Some couples include a sunset clause in their prenup. This makes the document invalid after a certain number of years. One option might have been for the woman to gain a certain percentage of equity in the home with each year of the marriage.
In a community property state like Texas, if there is no prenup, shared property is supposed to be divided equally. In general, this is any property that is acquired after marriage. If one person owns a home at the time of the marriage, it would include the amount that the home appreciates after the marriage. It usually would include income earned by either person, money put into a retirement account and any other investments. It typically does not include inheritances for one person, but it might if the inheritance is mingled with marital funds.