Protecting Your Family's Future
 

Do You Have a Valid Prenuptial Agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement in Texas

If you are considering getting married and you’re bringing substantial assets into the marriage, or you have children from a prior marriage and want to protect their rights to assets, you may want to consider preparing and executing a prenuptial agreement in Texas. There are circumstances, though, that can invalidate a prenuptial agreement, even if it seems clear that you came to terms. Here are some things to avoid, so that your prenup protects your interests. Contact a Baytown family law attorney for assistance.

  • Get it in writing—Some oral contracts are enforceable—as a general rule, a prenuptial agreement is not one of them. If you want to enforce a prenup in court, it must be in writing.
  • Take your time—Most courts will be disinclined to honor a prenuptial agreement if the parties did not have sufficient time to understand its impact and make an educated decision. Don’t ask your intended to sign a prenup as you’re walking into the church or the justice of the peace. Make certain there’s adequate time to consider the document.
  • Avoid unnecessary pressure—If it appears that you coerced your spouse to enter into the agreement, the court may throw it out. A prenuptial agreement is a contract and one of the essential elements of a valid and enforceable contract is that both parties willingly entered into the agreement.
  • Don’t lie or misrepresent—If one of the parties signed the agreement based on misrepresentations or misinformation, the court has the power to void the contract. Make certain you are truthful in all representations in the prenup.
  • Have your own legal counsel—It can be tempting to have the prenup drafted by one attorney and then signed by both parties. Unfortunately, if the parties to a contract have different interests (which you will), the same family law attorney cannot represent and promote the separate interests of both parties.

Prenuptial Agreement in Texas

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. Our Baytown family law attorney offers an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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The Pros and Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement

If you are considering getting married, and you are bringing significant assets into the marriage, or have children from a previous marriage, you may be thinking about putting a prenuptial agreement in place. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a prenuptial agreement.

The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

A valid prenuptial agreement can allow you to:

  • Identify what is and what is not marital or community property
  • Protect any property you owned before the marriage
  • Ensure that your estate plan is followed
  • Minimize expense and acrimony if the marriage fails.
  • Clearly state any unique or special agreements between parties

Contrary to what many believe, a prenuptial agreement can strengthen a marriage. If money and financial matters are a major concern, identifying in advance how they will be dealt with removes any uncertainty, and allows you to focus on your relationship. In a healthy marriage, money is a necessary topic for discussion. If you discuss it up front, it can lead to greater openness and communication in other areas as well.

The Detriments of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a business decision. If your marriage is not fundamentally built on financial expectations, needs or desires, there may be no need for a prenuptial agreement. If love or romance is at the core, a prenup will seldom support or enhance that.

Sometimes, though, the timing may just be wrong. If you discuss financial matters too early in a relationship, you may never be able to get past the perception that your marriage is mostly about money.

Before you enter into a prenuptial agreement, you want to check with a lawyer. Based on what you want to protect, you may not need a signed document—you may be protected by existing provisions in state law.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at (281) 420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

What Should You Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Important Components of a Prenuptial Agreement

What Should You Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?If you are considering marriage and have amassed a significant estate, or you have children from a prior marriage, the preparation and execution of a valid prenuptial agreement can remove concerns about your financial protection and allow you to focus your energy on your relationship. Here are the key components of an effective prenuptial agreement.

Property Concerns

One of the most important components of a prenuptial agreement is the distribution of property in the event of a separation or divorce. The first thing you want to include in a prenuptial agreement is an accurate accounting of all property being brought into the marriage. Typically, the parties to a prenuptial agreement identify such property and simply state that, in the event of separation or divorce, all property owned individually before the marriage is considered separate property and will be returned in full to the party who owned it before the marriage.

There may be assets that have been partially paid for before the marriage—a house or car. There may also be assets that were owned before the marriage, but have substantially appreciated in value during the marriage—investments, real estate, or retirement accounts. The prenuptial agreement should clearly identify how such property will be divided. This is especially important in Texas, where community property laws generally hold that all property obtained during a marriage is community property and to be divided equally upon separation or divorce.

Debts Incurred

An effective prenuptial agreement will also establish who has responsibility for any debts incurred during the marriage. Typically, if there are secured debts, the party who receives the property also takes on the debt. Parties can also agree to have separate bank accounts, credit cards and financing arrangements for personal property.

Waiver of Alimony

It is not uncommon for a prenuptial agreement to include a provision that the parties agree that there will be no obligation to pay alimony in the event of separation or divorce.

Contact Stewart Law, PLLC

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 10 years of experience to clients in south Texas.

To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Do I Need a Prenup?

Don’t view a prenup conversation as unwelcome doom and gloom on the eve of your wedding. Instead, think of it as further evidence that you and your beloved are both intelligent individuals – and that one or both of you is well on the way to serious financial success. It can be a challenge to insert some coolheaded logic into the pre-wedding months, but you and your spouse may respect each other more if you sit down together with an experienced prenuptial attorney and decide how to protect yourselves. Creating a prenuptial agreement doesn’t mean you plan to divorce; it just means you understand the basics of asset protection.

If you aren’t one of the so-called “one percent,” you may automatically assume that you don’t need a prenup. This may not be true. Better to take the time before the big event to determine whether a prenuptial agreement is warranted, since an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Here are some circumstances where a prenuptial agreement may be worth the ink it’s written with, even if neither or you currently are among the financial elite:

  • You are an entrepreneur with significant time and money invested in one or more ideas that have yet to come to fruition
  • You are a sports player on the verge of going pro
  • You expect a large inheritance (generally speaking, inheritances during marriage are treated as separate property even without a prenup, but if you expect a really large inheritance, you may want to consider double protection)
  • You want to protect the financial interests of children from a previous marriage
  • You suffered financial injury in a previous divorce and want to prevent history from repeating itself

If you and your betrothed decide to work out a prenup, you are far from alone. A 2010 preuptial survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers asked family law attorneys whether they had seen an increase in prenup clients, and a staggering 73 percent of attorneys surveyed said yes.

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women in divorce and other family law cases for 8 years. We have written prenuptial agreements for many couples about to marry, and we can work with you to determine whether a prenuptial is right for you. For an initial assessment and consultation regarding a prenuptial agreement, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

 
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