Houston Prenuptial Agreements Lawyers
Prenuptial agreements can be of significant benefit for any couple thinking about marriage. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to establish a fair distribution of assets for each spouse both during the marriage and if a separation were to occur.
Prenuptial agreements offer couples the chance to make decisions about the division of property and assets without the pressure of a looming divorce. At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston area prenuptial agreement lawyers understand the sensitive nature of prenuptial agreements but encourage couples to take the time to consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement. With extensive experience in this area and two specialists in family law — which is a very rare distinction in Texas — our attorneys are ready to help draft the agreement that works best for you and your partner.
Our legal team is dedicated to helping couples come to an agreement that works in the best interest of both parties. To learn more about the benefits of prenuptial agreements and how we can help you, contact us today at (713) 802-1777.
Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer?
Prenuptial agreements can be extraordinarily beneficial. Though no couple begins a marriage anticipating trouble down the road, planning ahead for the worst-case scenario can negate stress should something ever go wrong.
Although prenuptial agreements are often associated with splitting assets in the event of a divorce, they can have a much broader purpose. A prenuptial agreement can designate who has the right to control certain property, help with estate planning, and much more.
In order for a prenuptial agreement to fulfill its purpose, it has to be comprehensive and legally-binding. This is why it is essential that you hire a lawyer to help draft this document. If you attempt to craft a prenuptial agreement on your own, you may leave out important details, leaving room for debate. Similarly, if for any reason the prenuptial agreement you craft on your own turns out to not be legally binding, it will be completely void, leaving your assets vulnerable. To prevent these and other mishaps, hire a lawyer to help you draft your prenuptial agreement, and save yourself any headaches now and in the future.
Why Choose Holmes, Diggs & Sadler to Handle My Case?
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we have over 90 years of combined experience representing our neighbors in Houston in a variety of family law cases. Among our staff are two board-certified attorneys, an achievement held by less than 1% of lawyers in Texas. This means that when you hire Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, your case will benefit from the knowledge and skills of two specialists in family law. One of these specialists is Cindy Diggs, one of our founding partners, who alone has over 25 years of experience and has been named a Super Lawyer every year since 2009. We are proud of our record of excellent results and litany of awards that we have won over the years. We are more proud, however, of the trust and appreciation our clients have for us. We are totally dedicated to the needs of our clients, and strive to provide personalized and compassionate legal service. We understand that prenuptial agreements can feel awkward, but we guarantee to help you through this process as smoothly as possible.
Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements offer couples the chance to work out any foreseeable issues. Prenuptial agreements are not just a way to keep all your money for yourself in the event of a divorce. They are a way to agree on how to split assets prior to marriage. In addition to money in divorce, a prenuptial agreement can also cover:
- Who has the right to do what with certain property (including buy, sell, or otherwise control certain property)
- How joint bank accounts will be created and used
- What will happen to property if one spouse dies
- How life insurance benefits will be allocated
- How alimony will work in the event of divorce
- How future disputes may be resolved, such as through couple’s counseling
- How instances of adultery would affect property division in a divorce
- Estate planning decisions
It may be especially wise to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement if one spouse is much wealthier than the other or if you possess any of the following:
- You own a business
- Previous assets such as a home, stock, or retirement funds
- One or both spouses have significant debt
- Children from a previous marriage
If any of these situations apply to your upcoming marriage, you may want to consider writing a prenuptial agreement with the assistance of a family lawyer. Having such an agreement will simplify the property division aspect of divorce, if it should arise. If you choose not to craft a prenuptial agreement, you may find that assets that you worked hard for or that have special sentimental value to you are vulnerable.
Property: With and Without a Prenuptial Agreement
When considering whether to craft a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand how the allocation of a married couple’s property works in Texas. There is an existing system that will determine how your property could be split in the absence of a prenuptial agreement.
Texas is one of a few states that uses a community property system. This system essentially serves as a default guide for dividing property in the event of a divorce. Generally speaking, the system assumes that both spouses have equal ownership over all property acquired during a marriage. Therefore, if the couple divorces, all acquired assets (with certain exceptions) are divisible under the community property system.
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 his or her own business, the agreement may stipulate that earnings from that business will go to that spouse. A similar provision may apply to stocks owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or other assets that could generate earnings over the course of the marriage.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Can’t Do
There are many possible provisions that a prenuptial agreement can enforce. However, there are certain items that this agreement cannot include. These items are unenforceable by law, and attempting to include them may risk nullifying the agreement, in part or in whole.
First, 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. Bigamy is a criminal offense in Texas, regardless of the consent of both partners. A prenuptial agreement does not have the power to make this act – or other acts that disregard public policy – legal.
Second, a prenuptial agreement 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 family court. The court will review the up-to-date facts, circumstances, and best interests of the child at that time in order to make a custody decision. A prenuptial agreement cannot influence this process, as that would endanger the best interests of the child. Similarly, child support will be awarded at the time of the divorce based on the child’s needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Prenuptial agreements can be confusing and misunderstood. We know that you may have many questions about this topic. Below, we have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about prenuptial agreements.
When do I have to complete a prenuptial agreement?
In order for your prenuptial agreement to be valid, you and your partner must complete and sign the agreement before getting married. Then, the agreement will legally take effect once you are officially married.
Do I need a prenuptial agreement to cover the personal pieces of property that I obtained before my marriage?
A prenuptial agreement is meant to cover what would otherwise be considered community property, or the property that is acquired during a marriage. In contrast, the pieces of property that you owned before your marriage are classified as separate property under Texas law. Separate property is considered to be your own, and should not be divisible with your partner in the case of a divorce. However, to retain full ownership of this property, you may need to prove that certain items are separate as opposed to community property.
Can I change my prenuptial agreement after marriage?
Yes, it is possible to change or terminate your prenuptial agreement after marriage. In order to make such modifications, both parties will need to consent to and sign a new written agreement. Assuming that this new agreement – often referred to as a “postnuptial agreement” – has been properly crafted, it can officially modify or end the initial agreement.
What are some reasons that a prenuptial agreement may be void?
Besides both partners agreeing to nullify a prenuptial agreement, there are a couple of reasons why such an agreement may later be ruled void:
- If one of the two parties did not voluntarily sign the agreement – In order to be legally binding, the agreement must be voluntarily signed by both parties. If one partner can prove that their signature was forged or involuntary, then the prenuptial agreement may be invalid.
- If the agreement was inaccurate at the time that it was created and signed – For the prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must include full and transparent information about both parties’ assets and financial situation. If one of the signees withheld important and relevant information from the agreement that later comes to light, the prenuptial agreement may be considered void. It may also be considered void if one party was not fully aware of the other’s financial situation for other reasons (in addition to deliberate withholding).
Consult a Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer in Houston
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our lawyers are committed to helping couples come up with prenuptial agreements that benefit both spouses. Our legal team enjoys helping newlywed couples begin their marriages without issues regarding the division of property and assets.
If you and your significant other have pending nuptials, you may want to consult with a lawyer about your legal options. Call (713) 802-1777 today to speak with an experienced prenuptial agreements lawyer in the Houston area.