Central Texas Premarital Property Agreement Lawyers
Dunnam & Dunnam attorneys routinely represent individuals in premarital agreements. Many people refer to these agreements as “prenups;” however, Texas law refers to them as a “premarital agreement.” To discuss your prenuptial matter with an experienced Central Texas attorney, contact one of our family law attorneys at 254-753-6437. Lawyers who are involved in prenuptial agreements at the firm include the following:
Texas Premarital Agreements in General
Premarital agreements are essentially contracts; written agreements entered into between couples before they are married. Neither spouse needs to be represented by a lawyer. Couples use premarital agreements to avoid disputes regarding property ownership and division of financial assets in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements are commonly used by couples entering a second marriage, as they want to make clear definitions of separate property. Some couples are combining new households and want to protect children or other relatives from a first marriage. Others may receive income or spousal support from a past marriage, and would like to make sure such income remains separate property.
However, this does not mean that couples entering their first marriage are prohibited from entering into a what is commonly referred to as a “prenup.” People commonly use premarital agreements to protect assets owned before the marriage or to assign debts to either spouse in the event of a divorce.
Generally, Texas family courts recognize prenuptial agreements if the parties:
•had independent counsel in creating the agreement,
•were aware of their rights regarding property division under Texas law, especially if they agree to waive such rights,
•entered into the agreement freely and voluntarily; and
•were aware of each other’s income, and that full disclosures had been made or waived.
Pros of Prenups – Clear Communication
Since financial discord is the primary reason for divorce, talking to your spouse ahead of time regarding finances can help in avoiding future rifts over asset management. Of course, prenups are not the most romantic topic for discussion, especially because it invites the thought that your relationship could end badly. However, discussing these issues nurtures healthy communication, sets clear expectations for financial harmony, and breaks down potential barriers that may hinder your relationship. Even if you and your spouse decide a prenup is not for you, discussing it is a very good idea.
Cons of Prenups – Rocking the Boat
Conversely, prenups have their drawbacks. Some people broach the topic simply at the wrong time. It is generally a bad idea to propose a prenup soon before a wedding. Also, a prenups may uncover other faults in the relationship (other than a significant income disparity).
Limitations of Prenups
While you may agree on a number of a financial and property issues through a prenup, it cannot include designations for child support or child custody. Only family courts may make final determinations on these issues. Likewise, custody is determined by using the “best interest of the child” standard, where the court considers a number of factors to determine where the child will live and which parent may make decisions for the child.
Texas Law on Prenups
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which was written by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law in 1983, encourages the enforcement of prenuptial agreements. The exact UPAA standards differ from state to state just like other divorce laws. The following is the Texas state statutes regarding premarital and prenuptial agreements and how they are considered and enforced by the Texas court.
The attorneys at Dunnam & Dunnam routinely represent people in premarital agreements. To discuss your premarital matter with an experienced Central Texas attorney, contact one of our family law attorneys at 254-753-6437.