A pre-marital agreement – commonly referred to as a “prenup” – is a legally-binding contract executed between romantic partners before they wed. Several decades ago, prenups were heavily stigmatized. The rationale behind this stigma was that if a couple was executing a prenup, they didn’t expect their marriage to last. Nowadays, most Americans understand that setting expectations and thoughtfully planning for the future isn’t an indication of a lack of faith but of a desire to build one’s marriage on the strongest possible foundation. In addition, couples who execute prenups also benefit from certain protections if their unions don’t last, for whatever reason.
A post-nuptial agreement (postnup) functions much as a pre-nuptial agreement does. The primary difference between prenups and postnups is that prenups are executed before a couple is wed, whereas a postnup is executed after a couple has wed. These documents allow spouses to clarify financial expectations, boundaries, and ownership issues so that both parties’ interests are safeguarded and legally enforceable.
Texas Postnuptial Agreement Attorney
If you wish to alter or dismiss a standing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it’s important you reach out to an experienced attorney. You will need representation to challenge a marriage agreement because it’s a legally binding contract. Horak Law can review the validity of your agreement today.
Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 or submit an online contact form to schedule your first consultation.
Horak Law has two locations in Houston and The Woodlands, but we also accept clients in Harris County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Waller County, Fort Bend County, and Liberty County, Texas.
- What Is A Marital Property Agreement?
- Benefits Of Executing A Marital Property Agreement
- Preparing For A Postnup Legal Consultation
- Additional Resources
What Is A Marital Property Agreement?
Chapter Four of the Texas Family Code outlines how post-nuptial agreements are managed in Texas. In the Lone Star State, a post-nuptial agreement is referred to as a marital property agreement. This name can be somewhat misleading. After all, Texas does allow spouses to draft post-nuptial agreements that concern issues other than marital property. For example, a couple may wish to set a legally enforceable expectation concerning what details of their personal lives may or may not be written about on social media. In Texas, post-nuptial agreements may ordinarily be concerned with the distribution of property and assets if a couple divorces or one spouse passes away. Still, virtually any matter – whether it is related to marital property or not – can be addressed within a post-nuptial agreement.
To be considered legally valid, a Texas marital property agreement must be executed in writing and signed by both spouses. Each spouse must sign a marital property agreement voluntarily, as a signature obtained under duress or subject to coercion will be considered invalid. The entire agreement or specific terms contained therein may be considered unenforceable if a judge determines that any aspect of the agreement is unlawful, unconscionable, or unfair to one or both parties.
Although Texas law allows for “any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations,” to be addressed within the context of a marital property agreement, neither child custody nor child support concerns may be detailed in a legally enforceable Texas postnup.
Benefits Of Executing A Marital Property Agreement
Because Texas is a community property state, virtually all property and virtually all debts acquired by a couple during their marriage are equally owned by both parties. Executing a marital property agreement allows a couple to say, “we don’t want specific properties to be evenly divided if we divorce.” While the courts are generally obligated to divide all marital property evenly in the event of divorce, if a married couple voluntarily enters into a marital property agreement, the court can “bend” its ordinarily strict approach to property division in favor of the terms agreed upon by both spouses.
It is no secret that one of the subjects that most frequently plagues couples is the issue of money. By executing a post-nuptial agreement, a couple can proactively address concerns and tensions so that each individual’s interests remain protected. As a result of making this effort, many couples discover that their marital tensions decrease significantly. There may be fewer reasons to fight if each spouse understands that their interests will be honored in the event of a divorce.
For example, if one spouse struggles with overspending or gambling addiction, executing a post-nuptial agreement can help protect both spouses’ financial rights. Once that tension has been addressed, both parties can focus more completely on seeking help for the spouse in trouble. Or, if one spouse has inherited wealth that was hard-earned by a grandparent and it was that grandparent’s wish that the inheritance is used for a specific purpose, a postnup could safeguard that wealth.
It is also worth repeating that Texas law permits spouses to utilize the marital property agreement forum to address other issues in a legally binding way. For example, if one spouse is a YouTuber and their marriage has become contentious because of what they’re choosing to post, explicitly outlining expectations and boundaries in a legally-enforceable postnup can provide both spouses – and their marriage as a whole – with peace of mind.
Preparing For A Postnup Legal Consultation
It is essential for married couples interested in executing a post-nuptial agreement to consult with an attorney before drafting this legally binding document. Working with an experienced family lawyer can help to ensure that each party’s interests are fairly considered and that the document itself is appropriately drafted. Missteps in the drafting process can lead to significant stresses later if the terms of the postnup must be enforced.
Couples who have scheduled a legal consultation to discuss the process of executing a post-nuptial agreement should discuss their expectations before sitting down with a lawyer. If couples already know the terms they wish to put into place, they can bring that language along for a lawyer to review. Couples who are unsure how to navigate this initial drafting process can bring their questions and concerns to an initial consultation and move forward once they’ve received personalized professional feedback.
Marital Agreements – This resource, compiled by the Texas State Law Library – reviews the kinds of marital agreements permissible in Texas and provides links to E-books on the subject that are made available courtesy of the Texas State Law Library.
What You Should Know About Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements – This overview of the potential benefits and drawbacks of drafting a marital agreement is made available to the public for free by the non-profit Chicago Innocence Project.
Houston Postnuptial Agreements Lawyer | Harris County, TX
If you desire to alter or dismiss a standing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, contact Horak Law. Houston family law attorney Matthew Horak at Horak Law has handled numerous complex issues such as divorce, drafting prenups and postnuptial agreements and child custody. He can assess your agreement to see what’s the best way to combat it.
Call Horak Law at (713) 225-8000 to schedule a free consultation. Horak Law has offices in The Woodlands and Houston, TX.