Defined Expectations
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Dallas, Texas Pre & Post-Marital Agreement Attorneys

In the vast majority of marriages, the parties go into it with love, commitment, and optimism that it will last forever. Unfortunately, statistics show that somewhere between 40-50% of marriages end up in divorce. No matter how you feel about your partner, the best practice is to safeguard your personal assets through a Pre or Postnuptial Agreement.

Because Texas is a community property state (meaning certain assets may be presumed to be owned by both spouses), it is best for people coming into marriages with existing assets to have a Pre-Marital Agreement or Post-Marital Agreement.

What are Pre and Post-Marital Agreements?  

Pre-Marital and Post-Marital agreements (often generally referred to as “pre-nups” and “post-nups”) were once considered a necessity mostly for high asset individuals and couples with disparate financial backgrounds. Today, many couples are taking advantage of these legal documents to provide mutual protection in the event of a divorce. Pre and post-marital agreements offer invaluable benefits that make drafting one of these contracts worthwhile for couples of almost any financial background. 

Pre and Post-Marital agreements are essentially the same documents – the pre-is simply drafted before marriage, and the post is drafted after marriage. They achieve the same goal.

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Benefits of Pre and Post-Marital Agreements

A good Pre or Post-Marital Agreement is designed to protect both spouses in the event of a divorce and often can help prevent divorce. They provide:

  • Financial Predictability & Security – A professionally written Pre or Post-Marital (also known as a Pre or Post-Nuptial Agreement) Agreement documents each spouse’s separate property to protect it as only that spouse’s property; documents what items are community property and should be split between spouses in a divorce; and defines process for making significant gifts between spouses.
  • Defined Expectations for Everyone – Occasionally, pressure comes from family members or business partners regarding a new marriage. With the existence of a Pre or Post-Nuptial Agreement, all interested parties can rest assured that if a marriage is terminated, their interests (or those of the party they love) are more protected than without an agreement.
  • Efficient Separation – Divorce is stressful enough without worrying about how assets will be split up. Couples can spend years fighting in divorce court or assets, spending excessive fees, and stressing children. If divorce is the only way forward, a Pre or Post-Nuptial Agreement can provide an expedited way of resolving property disputes, alleviate court fees and expedite the already painful process.   

What is the Difference Between Pre and Post-Marital Agreements?

A Pre-Marital Agreement is made before the marriage, while Post-Marital Agreements are created after the marriage. Both documents cover the same areas, but a Pre-Marital Agreement is often viewed as a safer choice because it establishes expectations before the legal contract of marriage.  If conflict quickly arises after marriage, and there is no Pre-Marital Agreement to protect both parties, it can devolve into a costly and time-consuming court battle. Prenups are especially advised when individuals bring large inheritances or assets into a marriage. 

Do You Need an Attorney to Create a Pre-or Post-Marital Agreement? 

Although you do not legally need an attorney to draft and file your Pre or Post-Marital Agreement working with an experienced estate attorney will ensure the protection of both spouses. There are many variables to consider when drafting a Marital Agreement, and a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can make sure each spouse is represented fairly, the documents are void of errors or loopholes, filed in accordance with Texas state law, and legally binding. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Like all contracts, state laws govern the rules for contract interpretation, application, and validity. Typically, courts will consider whether or not the contract was the product of fraud, duress, or undue influence and, in addition, whether the contract is clear and unambiguous regarding the agreements inside of it.

Generally, such agreements are centered around marital property. In states that follow community property laws (such as Texas), it’s critically important to define if any member of the marriage has come into the marriage owning separate property. In addition, such agreements specify manners in which significant monetary gifts are made between spouses and the manner of determining community property.

Some spouses believe that signing a Pre-Marital Agreement is a sign of mistrust or doom regarding the relationship. Nothing can be further from the truth. Having a Marital Property Agreement in place provides clarity, defines expectations, and is good planning.

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