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What Are the Benefits of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Firm News

By: Danielle Murphy, Paralegal

Most people know the basics of what a pre-nuptial agreement or “prenup” is based on movies and TV shows, but you may be wondering if this is something that can benefit you in real life. The Texas Family Code defines a “premarital agreement” as an ‘agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective on marriage’ and states that the agreement is ‘enforceable without consideration’ if it is made in writing and signed by the parties. In layman’s terms, this just means that any agreement you and your prospective spouse come to prior to marriage must be in writing and signed by the both of you to be valid.

So, what can you include in a pre-marital agreement? Prenups can include several stipulations that can apply to the parties during marriage but also during a divorce. Below is a list of items that can be included in a pre-nuptial agreement according to the Texas Family Code1:

  1. Property Division
    You can use a prenup to designate the division and separate property of a party in the event of marriage dissolution, death, or any other event. You can also use a prenup to specify each spouses’ rights to any properties acquired during marriage (I.E., the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease or otherwise manage or control the property). So, for instance if you have a piece of property that you want to remain in your family in the event of death or divorce, you can stipulate that in your contract.
  2. Spousal Support
    During a divorce, one of the main things that often comes up is the issue of spousal support and whether it should be provided. You can specify the terms of spousal support ahead of time with a pre-nuptial contract. However, the Texas Family Code does specify that ‘the right of a child to receive support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement’.
  3. Wills, Trusts and Probate
    A prenuptial agreement is also useful to specify the provisions of any will, trust or other similar arrangement that you would like your spouse to agree on.
  4. Other Requests
    Texas law also specifies that any other agreement or stipulation can be included in a pre-marital agreement if it does not infringe on the rights of the other party, does not violate public policy, and does not violate the law or impose a criminal penalty.2

Lastly, a pre-martial agreement is a very flexible document and as such can be an extremely useful tool to designate the parties’ assets and wishes for the marriage ahead of time, which can save both parties time and money in the future.

 


[1] Texas Family Code § Sec. 4.001-4.003.
[2] Texas Family Code § Sec. 4.001-4.003.