In Texas, a postnuptial agreement can be a valuable protection for couples who have already married, but wish to protect their assets in the event of a divorce or separation. These agreements, which are sometimes called post-marital agreements, will allow you and your spouse to partition your community estate into two separate estates. These agreements are legally enforceable and serve the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement.
What Is Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?
These documents are very similar to a prenuptial agreement, but they are signed after the marriage has already begun. At the very least, a postnuptial should include how your community assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse. It may also include agreements regarding dispute resolution, pet ownership, or other terms you both agree upon.
Do I Need a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a form of protection, but it can have the opposite effect in certain situations. It’s important to take your unique needs and circumstances into consideration before signing such an agreement. Some situations where a postnuptial agreement may be favorable include:
- When there is a family business that should remain in the family
- When there are children, property, or obligations from previous marriages
- When one spouse has a great amount of debt acquired during the course of the marriage, including student loans, car loans, and credit card debt
- When there is a need for security in a troubled marriage
Postnuptial agreements can offer a greater degree of certainty and protection but, as mentioned above, they can work against you. While a postnuptial should be fair, there is nothing to prevent the spouse who earns less from leaving the marriage with far less than the spouse who earns more. In a divorce, the less-well-off spouse can fight for a fair share of the marriage’s shared property and request support orders, but a postnuptial agreement can prevent this. If you are unsure, discuss your agreement with an experienced family law attorney.
What Makes a Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
While the requirements can vary between states, there are a few rules that generally hold true, regardless of location. These include:
- A postnuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
- Both parties must sign the agreement without coercion, deception, threats, or physical interference.
- A postnuptial must be fair, meaning that it should not be greatly in favor of one spouse or the other.
- A postnuptial agreement must contain a full financial disclosure from both parties.
Like any contract, it is important to ensure that your postnuptial agreement is enforceable. An experienced Texas family lawyer can help you to draft an agreement that meets all necessary requirements or help you understand the terms of any agreement you’ve been asked to sign.
At Adams Law Firm, our team is backed by more than 35 years of proven family law experience. We are ready to help you with any family law matter, from prenuptials and postnuptials to divorce and custody issues. Our Katy family law attorneys are compassionate and ready to help you. Discuss your case today when you schedule a consultation.
Contact our firm at (281) 764-6087.