Marriage can mean many different things to different couples, but along with its more romantic elements, marriage involves creating a legal partnership between two people. Just as prudent business partners will set forth their agreements in a written contract before embarking on a joint business venture, it is wise for engaged couples in Texas to discuss the terms of their marital partnership in advance by creating a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement, is a legally binding document that establishes each spouse's financial and property rights in case the marriage should end. Contrary to common belief, prenuptial agreements can do far more than simply protect the interests of the wealthier spouse. In fact, a well-structured prenup can often help both spouses safeguard their interests and financial well-being in case of a breakup.
Changing Attitudes About Premarital Agreements
In recent years, prenuptial agreements have largely overcome their rather gloomy reputation. While many couples agree that discussing the topic can sometimes feel awkward at first, more and more are finding that the benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort. According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, prenuptial agreements increased by 73 percent between 2005 and 2010. And, in a growing number of cases, it is women who are requesting them, NBC reports.
Even the courts, which once viewed prenuptial agreements with disfavor, now are widely accepting of prenups, recognizing their potential to help couples address important issues head-on and eliminate potential conflicts.
In many cases, negotiating a prenuptial agreement can actually help couples strengthen their relationships by giving them an opportunity to identify and resolve any potential stumbling blocks well in advance of the wedding. And, if the marriage should end in divorce or either spouse dies without a will, a carefully written prenuptial agreement can dramatically reduce the potential for lengthy and expensive legal battles.
Texas Prenup Basics
Texas has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which was drafted in an effort to promote consistency and predictability in the enforcement of prenuptial agreements throughout the nation. As a baseline matter, a prenuptial agreement must be made in writing and signed by both parties to be enforceable under Texas law.
A Texas premarital agreement may address a wide range of factors, including, but not limited to:
- The distribution of money, property and other assets upon death or divorce.
- The modification or elimination of spousal support obligations in the event of divorce.
- Other rights and obligations of each individual during the marriage.
Contact An attorney
A prenup can be a valuable tool for protecting the interests of both spouses in a marriage, but to serve its purpose effectively it must be carefully crafted and legally enforceable. Therefore, anyone interested in creating a prenuptial agreement in Texas is advised to seek help from a qualified family law attorney in their area.