Drafting a successful prenuptial agreement in Texas
Obtaining a prenuptial agreement before marriage can be a heated topic for many Texas couples. However, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, divorce is on the rise. In 2010, there were approximately 87,000 divorces in Texas, up from approximately 76,000 in 2005, making the idea of a prenuptial agreement more attractive for engaged couples.
Approaching the topic
Bringing up the topic of a prenuptial agreement is not easy for engaged couples because this topic is not very romantic. When discussing the idea of a prenuptial agreement, couples should remember that marriage is a contract and that a prenuptial agreement is simply a way to enhance this union. It is also a way to re-write Texas property law and how it may be applied specifically to the two of you.
Although not every couple needs or even wants a prenuptial agreement, there are several instances where this agreement may be beneficial. If one partner has a lot of debt, owns their own business, has children from a prior relationship, has family money, already has valuable assets or plans to eventually leave their job to take care of children, a prenuptial agreement should be considered.
Devising the document
Prenuptial agreements can include a variety of different assets. Financial accounts, such as retirement and investment funds, as well as valuable property should be included in the agreement. If the couple owns any pets or is in possession of any items that are personally valued, the distribution of these items in the case of divorce could also be illustrated in this document.
When devising a prenuptial agreement, it is important to ensure that the document is valid. To reduce the risk of a prenuptial agreement being struck down by a court, it should:
- Be written down
- Be devised voluntarily by both individuals
- Be fair to both parties involved in the marriage
- Be drawn up in front of a witness or legal authority
- Be fairly negotiated, with both parties having the opportunity to consult an attorney
- And most importantly, should fully and fairly disclose all of the couple’s financial information
When prenuptial agreements don’t follow these guidelines, they run the risk of being struck down at the time of a divorce or upon the death of one party. For example, a woman in Long Island, New York recently divorced her husband and the couple had a prenuptial agreement, according to ABC News. Apparently, the husband had promised the woman that he would give her $25,000 for every year that they were married (which was an unfair agreement due to the wealth of the husband) but that he would not enforce it if they had children together.
The woman did not want to sign the prenuptial agreement but her husband convinced her based on false promises her that he would destroy if they had children together. The court eventually ruled in the wife’s favor stating that she had been convinced against her will to sign the prenuptial agreement.
If you are planning to be married in the near future and you would like to customize how Texas property law would apply to you in the case of a divorce or death,, contact an attorney to begin working on this important document well in advance of the wedding. This way you can get this ugliness out of the way and focus on the romance and your future together.