Board-Certified Family Law Specialist* · American College Of Family Trial Lawyers
In marriage, as in life, there are no certainties that anything is permanent. Nobody gets married expecting the marriage to end in divorce, but the reality is that nearly 50 percent of marriages end up in dissolution. A higher percentage of second marriages end in divorce.
If you are considering marriage for the first time, or have been married before, it makes good financial sense to enter into a premarital agreement to protect your personal assets from becoming marital property in the event of divorce. When written correctly, a prenuptial agreement protects the rights of both parties.
Over the course of a marriage, it is not uncommon for one or both of the spouses to inherit significant financial assets as the result of the death of a parent or family benefactor. It is not always certain that the full value of the estate will be considered the personal property of the inheriting spouse. In the event of divorce, the other spouse may claim it as marital property to be divided by the courts. A postmarital agreement allows the spouses to protect certain types of assets as personal property, not subject to equitable division in a divorce.
Keep Your Personal Assets Separate Throughout The Marriage
Many couples enter into a prenuptial agreement to protect their personal estate, only to discover that their earnings may be considered marital property if they commingled their investments with those of their spouse over the course of the marriage. In order to remain protected by a premarital or postmarital agreement, personal assets should be held and invested separately throughout the marriage.
Necessary Requirements For A Valid Prenuptial Agreement
Signing an informal prenuptial agreement won't necessarily protect your financial assets as personal property in the event of divorce. In order to be considered valid by the courts, several conditions must be met at the time of the signing by both parties. These conditions include the following:
- The agreement cannot be written in such a way that is inherently unfair to one of the parties. Both parties must have some protections from financial hardship in the event of divorce.
- The agreement cannot be written or signed in haste or under duress. Typically, the courts prefer at least several months of time between the time of the signing and the date of marriage. Neither party must feel compelled to sign the agreement under pressure or threat.
- Both parties must have separate legal counsel. Prenuptial agreements are contracts. One attorney cannot represent or advise both parties. Parties may choose to forgo legal advice from an attorney, but it is never a good idea.
- Both parties must fully understand the terms and conditions of the agreement and the effects of the agreement on their financial situation in the event of divorce.
Experienced Denton And Collin County Marital Agreement Attorney
If you are considering a first marriage or a second or subsequent marriage in the Dallas Metroplex region or anywhere in North Texas, it makes sense to talk to an experienced attorney first. The Webb Family Law Firm, P.C., is recognized as one of the region's pre-eminent family law firms. We will answer your questions about pre- and postmarital contracts and make sure you know what you are signing.
Call us at 972-863-0279 or contact us by email to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced Dallas prenuptial agreement attorney today.
*As certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization