– KANYE WEST
Nothing’s more romantic than a wedding where you and your spouse and family celebrate the love you have for each other and your hope of a happy marriage and a life full of love and laughter. However, in legal terms, marriage is a contract involving financial rights and obligations.
It doesn’t matter where you get married the unfortunate reality is that a sizeable percentage of American marriages end in divorce. One of the most uncomfortable things to talk about with your significant other is money and when talking marriage, a prenuptial agreement is a topic that can put an elephant in any room.
That’s why it’s smart, for both parties involved, to consider your financial obligations before you get married. It might surprise you to learn that you need a prenuptial agreement.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement (document) between potential spouses made in the anticipation of marriage, as a family lawyer Arlington TX trusts can attest. Prenups control the division of property, such as real property, personal property, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and vehicles.
Prenuptial agreements have to be finalized before a marriage ceremony has taken place and is deemed legal. As soon as the parties are legally married they become effective.
A prenuptial can also be used for the following:
- Determining the responsibility for premarital debts
- Business ventures
- Defining the ownership of the marital home
- Estate planning
- Determining community property and which are separate property
- The method of resolution of future financial disputes
- Spousal support obligations
- Support of existing children
- Filing of taxes
- Payment of household bills
- Responsibility for large purchases
- Payment of support and education costs.
Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
If any of the following circumstances apply, you should consider getting a prenuptial agreement:
- bringing major debt into the marriage
- bringing property into the marriage
- One spouse is much wealthier or poorer than the other
- One or both spouses want to secure their estates
- One spouse plans to quit their job to raise children
- One spouse earns a lot less than their partner
In Texas, prenup or even premarital agreements can determine the amount of child support that one parent would have to pay to the other if the parties were to divorce. Child support belongs to the child, not the parent and child support must be modified if financial circumstances change. Child custody can’t be decided in advance because child support and custody are determined exclusively by the family law courts, which are based on facts and circumstances of each case and a judge will render a decision based on the child’s best interests.
Texas has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (“UPAA”), which for a prenup agreement to be legally valid in Texas, all of the following requirements must be satisfied:
- The agreement has to be in writing – an oral agreement is not legally enforceable.
- The agreement does not have to be supported by consideration – “consideration” is something of value that one party gives to the other as a show of support for a contract.
- The agreement must have been written and signed “in contemplation of marriage,” meaning that the parties must have negotiated and signed the agreement with a view toward a definite and upcoming marriage.
Prenups agreements are legally unenforceable if any of the following statements are true:
- One of the spouses didn’t sign the agreement voluntarily.
- The agreement was “unconscionable,” meaning that it is so grossly unfair that it can’t be enforced in a just and right manner. An agreement is unconscionable if any of the following is true:
- One of the spouses failed to provide the other spouse with a fair and reasonable disclosure of all financial obligations and property owned.
- One of the spouses did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to said disclosure.
- One of the spouses did not, or could not reasonably have had, adequate knowledge of the other spouse’s property interests and financial obligations.
Can I Change or Terminate a Prenuptial Agreement After Marriage?
A married couple can modify or revoke the prenup by entering into a subsequent or amended agreement, in writing, modifying the original. Both parties have to agree and the new agreement must be in writing. No consideration is necessary to support the modification and these are known as postnuptial agreements.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into prenuptial agreements.