Texas Prenuptial Agreement: How Does It Work?
Many states in the US consider marriage a formal union with roles, rights, and legal obligations. One such state is Texas, which allows spouses to form an enforceable premarital contract.
In Texas, spouses can sign an agreement to exercise their obligations in marriage and define their rights to property ownership. Furthermore, spouses who own property or business ventures can sign the contract to safeguard their assets if they divorce.
But premarital contracts follow a set of rules to remain valid. So, how does a prenup work in Texas? Read on.
Texas Prenuptial Contract: An Overview
Texas ratified the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act under the Family Code, section 4.001. According to the family code, a prenup is an agreement between potential spouses contemplating marriage.
The law requires parties to draft the contract before the wedding and have sufficient time to review it before signing. The agreement becomes effective upon marriage but is still amendable if couples wish to change the terms.
How Does a Prenup Work in Texas?
The Texas Family Code has clear guidelines on how a premarital contract works. Your premarital contract should have your signatures and be a written draft since the Texas courts do not recognize a verbal or oral agreement. Unlike other states, you do not need to notarize your premarital contract in Texas.
You should disclose your liabilities and assets to your spouse or waive the missing disclosures. Full disclosure is vital because a prenup alters your spouse’s right to property ownership. Thus, your spouse can only evaluate the effect of the altered right if you fully disclose your financial information. Without full disclosure, the court may void your agreement.
Additionally, a premarital agreement should be voluntary to remain enforceable. If signed under coercion, ill will, or undue influence, the courts may void a prenup.
In Texas, a prenup also requires independent legal representation by two separate attorneys. Having a single attorney represent your legal rights when signing the contract is unlawful.
Most importantly, Texas premarital contracts do not have provisions restricting child support or the right to custody. The Texas courts may set aside any terms that limit children from obtaining support during a divorce.
Why Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement in Texas?
There are many reasons for signing a prenuptial agreement in Texas. They include:
If you wish to retain the financial integrity of your marriage, then a prenup will help you. For instance, if your spouse is coming into the marriage with a considerable debt bill, it would help secure your separate assets against debt liability.
Contracting Property Ownership
The Texas family code allows you to customize family rules for managing marital property. For instance, if you jointly own a parcel of land, you can decide the ownership percentage of each spouse to avoid battles when divorcing.
Contracting Spousal Support
A premarital agreement allows you to exclude or modify terms regarding spousal support. Thus, you can agree that no spouse will owe family support to the other if you divorce. On the other hand, a Texas prenup can impose a legal obligation on you to continue supporting your children if you divorce.
What Provisions Aren’t Enforceable in Texas?
Prenuptial agreements remain enforceable only if they contain lawful provisions. Most importantly, a prenup cannot violate Texas state law, family code, or public policy.
Bigamy (marrying two or more spouses) is criminal under the Texas penal code. Therefore, a prenup will set aside a provision allowing you to marry more than one spouse.
A prenup also grants children the right to support from their parents. So, if specific provisions impair support to children, they may not be enforceable.
Do you need a prenup in Texas? Download a sample prenup form from this website.