Which Marital Agreement Is Right For You?
Are Marital Agreements Enforceable In Texas?
Texas law provides that couples intending to marry, and those already married, may execute a document that characterizes their property as separate or community. That agreement may characterize property in a manner that is different from what the law would do without such an agreement. Premarital and post-marital agreements are completely enforceable in Texas and favored by Texas law.
Are There Endless Options For Texas Marital Agreements?
There is no strict formula that spouses must follow in dividing or characterizing their property. A couple about to marry may choose to designate everything that each acquires during marriage as his or her separate property so no community property is created. They may choose to state that if the marriage ends each will receive 50% of the community property (Texas law does not provide for any automatic division, 50/50 or otherwise). If one spouse has substantially more assets than the other an agreement can provide that the assets will remain separate, but some will be given to the other spouse at various intervals or upon certain events.
How Many Types Of Marital Agreements Are Available?
When an agreement is signed before marriage, it is called a prenuptial agreement (“prenup”), a premarital agreement, or an antenuptial agreement. When a married couple decides to partition their community estate into two separate estates, that document is referred to as a partition agreement, a post-marital agreement or a postnuptial agreement.
Can We Get A Marital Agreement After We Are Married?
A married couple may choose to divide their community estate into two separate estates with a partition agreement. Again, there is no formula that must be followed and the spouses are free to decide about their own property.
How To Have A Voluntary And Fair Marital Agreement?
In either case, the agreement must be voluntary, generally fair, and each spouse or fiancé must: (A) Be given a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other’s property; or (B) Must sign a waiver of such disclosure, or (C) Must have had adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party. The standard prenup and standard partition agreements available on this site provide schedules for disclosure of all assets and debts, PLUS two waivers of financial disclosure in case an asset is accidentally left off.
Can Children Be Included In Marital Agreements?
A prenup or partition agreement may include provisions regarding inheritance to protect either spouse’s children born before marriage. Any provisions regarding children born during the marriage are unenforceable. Decisions about the children’s best interest will be made based on the circumstances existing at the time that the decision is made.
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The prenup package serves several purposes:
1. It is a written record of the assets and debts of each spouse at the time of marriage, and
2. It provides that no community property will be created during the marriage. Each spouse will own separately all income and assets that he or she acquires during the marriage. In the event of divorce, there will be no community property to divide. This includes all retirement, real estate, financial accounts and all other assets.
The standard prenup package available on this site includes:
- A prenuptial agreement;
- Forms for listing the assets and debts of each fiancé;
- 2 waivers of financial disclosure;
- A post-marital property agreement to be signed shortly after the marriage;
- A cover letter explaining how to execute the documents.
Prices starting at $399. Prenup Package Order
The postnup package serves several purposes:
The standard partition package divides or “partitions” a community estate into two separate estates. The spouses divide the community estate by identifying the assets and debts that each will receive. Forms are provided for that purpose and are referenced throughout the document. You simply write the husband’s assets and debts on his spreadsheet, and the wife’s on hers. It’s important that all assets and debts be listed because if something is not awarded to one of the spouses it could remain a community asset.
Partition Package includes:
- A Marital Property Agreement;
- Forms for listing the assets and debts that are “partitioned” or awarded to each spouse;
- Waivers of Disclosure just in case an asset is accidentally left off of the forms, (but it is still best to ensure that all assets and debts are listed);
- A Cover Letter with instructions about executing the documents.
Prices starting at $399. Marital Partition Order
Need A Custom Agreement?
Custom Marital Agreement
For those who do not want such a clear-cut scheme, a custom prenup or partition agreement is also available.
That document can provide for anything to which the parties agree. Certain assets can be kept separate and others can become community. The division of any community property can be specified or all can be separate and one spouse can agree to give the other periodic gifts of cash or property. There are endless options.
Without a marital agreement “Trial courts also have wide discretion and are allowed to take many factors into consideration in making a just and right division.” Schleuter v. Schleuter, Texas Supreme Court, 1997