Houston Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys
Comprehensive Marital Agreements for Houstonians
Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreement in Texas, can be extraordinarily beneficial. Though no couple begins a marriage anticipating trouble down the road, planning for the worst-case scenario can negate stress later should something ever go wrong. Our attorneys can help you craft a prenup that protects your rights and best interest.
Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenups don't only offer a way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce, they are a way to agree on how to split assets before marriage. In addition to addressing money assets in a marriage or divorce, a prenuptial agreement can also cover things such as:
- Who has the right to do what with certain property;
- How joint bank accounts will be created and used;
- What happens to the property if one spouse dies;
- How life insurance benefits are allocated;
- How alimony/ spousal maintenance would be handled in the event of divorce;
- How future disputes can be resolved, such as mediation and arbitration;
- Payment of attorney's fees and spousal support upon divorce; and
- Estate planning decisions.
It may be wise to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement if one spouse is much wealthier than the other or if you possess any of the following:
- A business;
- Assets owned before the marriage, such as a home, stock, or retirement funds;
- Significant debt held by one or both spouses;
- Children from an earlier marriage.
Property Division with and Without a Prenuptial Agreement
Texas is one of a few states that use a community property system. Generally speaking, the system assumes that both spouses have common ownership of all property acquired during a marriage. Therefore, if the couple divorces, all acquired assets (with certain exceptions) are divisible between the parties.
In contrast, a prenuptial agreement can make specifications so that certain acquired assets cannot be divided following a divorce. For example, if one spouse runs their own business, the premarital agreement may stipulate the business' earnings will go to that spouse as separate property. A similar provision may apply to one spouse's stocks before the marriage, or other assets that could generate earnings throughout the marriage.
Parties can also use a partition agreement to convert a married couple's community property into separate property if a prenup doesn't meet their needs.
Cohabitation Agreement Attorneys in Texas
It is increasingly common for some couples to prefer cohabitation without marriage. Texas is a state which permits common law marriage. Proof of a common law marriage would require that a couple 1) agree to be married, 2) cohabitate, and 3) hold themselves out to the public as though they are married. Therefore, couples who decide to cohabitate without marriage sometimes want to enter into agreements that acknowledge and confirm that they do not intend to be married to one another (and thus are not married under the common law rules in Texas under that first requirement that they must agree to be married).
Further, such an agreement may govern the financial aspects of the couple’s relationship, including their respective assets. These agreements are referred to as cohabitation agreements and they may govern the assets and financial dealings of the couple in ways similar, though not identical to, the way premarital agreements or prenups govern the assets of couples who marry.
Cohabitation agreements are not governed by the Texas Family Code, which governs only the property agreements of future spouses or those who are already married. Cohabitation agreements in Texas are construed and governed by the laws that govern all contracts in Texas, and may be binding on the parties so long as they meet the requirements for contracts in Texas. Cohabitation agreements may be appropriate for any couple who live together, including same-sex couples who choose not to marry.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Can't Do
There are certain items prenuptial agreements cannot include. These items are unenforceable by law, and attempting to retain them may risk nullifying the agreement, in part or whole.
For example, a prenuptial agreement cannot include provisions that involve illegal activity. For instance, a provision that aims to allow bigamy by one of the spouses will be invalid.
Additionally, a prenup does not have the power to determine future child custody or child support. In terms of custody, in the event of a divorce, the power to decide child custody lies exclusively with the parties by agreement at the time of divorce, or by the family court if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
Our Houston prenuptial agreement attorneys can help you craft the ideal prenuptial, partition, or contractual cohabitation agreement for your relationship.
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