Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements
In Texas, there are two types of marital agreements — prenuptial and postnuptial.
A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) is a marital agreement entered into by engaged couples before getting married. Prenuptial agreements are often used when one party has huge assets or will receive a large estate from a family trust. A prenuptial agreement can help:
- Determine how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce
- Describe each spouse's responsibilities and obligations
- Provide for children from a previous relationship or marriage
- Protect estate plans and ensure that family assets remain within the family
- Protect either spouse from the debts or liabilities incurred by the other party
- Determine how finances, expenses, and household bills will be shared
A postnuptial agreement (or “postnup”) is a marital agreement entered into by a couple that is already married. Some married couples may decide to enter into a postnup in order to achieve any of the following:
- Protect a family business or investments
- Protect against liabilities or debts incurred by the other spouse
- Clarify each spouse’s financial responsibilities and obligations during the marriage
- Determine how marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce
- Define parameters for potential spousal support or alimony
- Determine how debt or liabilities will be shared
- Determine what happens to their real property and other assets upon the death of either spouse
The Truth About Marital Agreements
A divorce or the death of one spouse is often accompanied by serious financial ramifications. The purpose of the marital agreement is to help cushion these effects and ensure a smooth transition. Nevertheless, you should note that a marital agreement:
- Isn't "only for people who expect to get divorced"
- Isn't "only for the wealthy"
- Isn't unfair or harmful to the “less-wealthy” spouse
Rather, marital agreements can:
- Help define expectations and draw clear boundaries, making life easier
- Provide a means through which both parties can have an honest, open discussion about what's important to each of them
- Prepare for the uncertainties of life
Making Sure Agreements are Enforceable
The state of Texas, legally speaking, believes that a marital agreement without proper legal representation may be unfair to either spouse. Therefore, when drawing up a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, having a different lawyer representing each spouse is preferred. An experienced attorney can help simplify the process, meet all necessary procedural requirements, keep the conversation productive, and make sure that the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is enforceable.
Work With Knowledgeable Attorneys
Preparing for the uncertainties of life is important. Whether you are planning to get married or are already married, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can benefit and protect you and your fiancé or spouse. A knowledgeable Texas family law firm can help explore your options and offer you the proper support you need to draft your marital agreement.
Our team is committed to providing experienced legal guidance and helping clients draft marital agreements and documents. We will be available to discuss your situation, educate you about the advantages and risks involved, and help you understand your legal options.
As your legal counsel, we will identify how best to protect your accumulated assets, children, and future. We will also ensure that the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is valid, fair to both sides, and meets all legal requirements for enforceability. We will work diligently to address your needs and concerns and help you and your spouse achieve the best available outcome.