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Specialty tag(s): Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

What Can Prenuptial Agreements Contain Under Texas Law?

Aimee Pingenot Key | January 20, 2022

Prenuptial Agreements in Texas

The modern premarital agreement can often be the secret to a stronger, happier marriage. Prenuptial agreements provide couples with the opportunity to work together and talk about hard issues, like their finances, independent estates, and what they want to form together before they get married. Having a modern prenup encourages couples to sit down and have constructive conversations about what their future looks like together financially before they actually enter into marriage, which can save a lot of heartache and difficult conversations in the long run.  Even if a marriage is not successful, a clear framework has been laid out to guide dissolution in a concrete and cost-efficient manner.  

What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Contain in Texas?

A premarital agreement is a contract entered into by spouses before marriage. It helps to define how assets and debts are treated and divided during the marriage, at divorce or in death. Under the Texas Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a valid premarital agreement can include:

  • The spouses’ rights to use and transfer property
  • The spouses’ rights and obligations regarding any property they acquire
  • The disposition of property in the event the spouses’ marriage end due to divorce or death

However, in addition to property and financial terms, a Texas prenuptial agreement can also touch on the following terms:

  • Changing family names upon marriage
  • Who is financially responsible for certain expenses
  • The creation and utilization of joint bank accounts
  • Dispute resolution methods, such as marriage counseling
  • The effect of extramarital relationships in a divorce, such as property division

By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can tailor your premarital agreement to fit you and your future spouse, ensuring it contains everything you need as a couple. 

Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Traditionally, prenuptial agreements are thought of as being for high-net-worth couples with a lot of assets. However, prenups have been modernized and are very important for almost anyone, especially for couples who have worked a long time to establish their own success in their own estates. This can include couples with children from prior marriages or relationships or family businesses or trusts that need to be understood and explained before entering into a marriage agreement.

It’s very important for couples entering into a prenup to be willing to talk openly and honestly about their expectations, about their estates, about their concerns, and about their visions of the future with their future spouse so that they can create something that works for both of them.

How Can I Ensure My Prenuptial Agreement is Enforceable in Texas?

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Texas, it must not include provisions that violate public policy or implicate criminal culpability. If the couple has, or plans on having, children the prenuptial agreement also cannot interfere with a child’s right to receive the necessary support from their parent, so a term that functions to impact child support cannot be enforced. By consulting an attorney experienced in prenuptial agreements, you can get the specifics about what is needed to ensure that your agreement is enforceable in the state of Texas.  

Can I Change or Terminate My Prenuptial Agreement After Marriage?

Yes, a married couple can jointly amend or terminate an existing premarital agreement after marriage by entering into a subsequent agreement, in writing, that disavows or alters the prenup. Both parties have to agree, and the new agreement must be in writing.

Contacting an Experienced Family Law Attorney

At Goranson Bain Ausley, we work with couples to draft a premarital agreement that is customized and individualized for them. It is best to start thinking about this well before your “I dos” and contact an experienced Goranson Bain Ausley attorney in Dallas, Plano, or Austin to learn about your options. The more time that you and your future spouse have to talk about, envision, and create your future contract and relationship, the easier and more enjoyable the process will be. 

To learn more about prenuptial agreements in Texas, please contact Aimee Pingenot Key at 214-373-7676.

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