Pre-Marital Agreements

Due to the high divorce rate inside the U.S., marital agreements are recommended as a preventative measure to take in marriage. They have the potential of making the dissolution of the marriage process run smoother, and in return, save thousands of dollars. Every state’s laws concerning pre-marital agreements differ slightly, so it is best to hire an attorney who knows the pre-marital agreement laws of Texas.

Brownsville Pre-Marital Agreements Attorney

Even though no one goes into a marriage with the idea of divorce, pre-marital agreements can be useful in case something does go wrong. Pre-marital agreements can also make the topic of finances less awkward during marriage because both spouses are walking into the commitment with full disclosures of each other’s wealth and finances.

Our attorneys at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. are knowledgeable in pre-marital agreements and can help you and your spouse establish the rules of your marriage involving finances and property allocation, by creating a pre-marital agreement that will satisfy both of you and adhere to your expectations. Pre-marital agreements have particular requirements to be considered valid under a Texas court, and our attorneys can help you better your contract to meet those standards.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. works with clients in Brownsville, and other parts of the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy. Call our office at 956-504-2211 for a free, confidential consultation over the phone.  

Overview of Pre-Marital Agreements

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Types of Pre-Marital Agreements

There are two main types of pre-marital agreements used as a preventative measure to avoid conflict during divorce. The first type is a prenuptial or prenup. A prenuptial is probably the most common type of pre-marital agreement, written before the marriage becomes official. The second type of pre-marital agreement is a post-nuptial agreement. A post-nuptial agreement is written after nuptials have already taken place. This type of pre-marital agreement can also serve as a modification for a prenuptial agreement. Important issues covered inside pre-marital agreements can include:

  • Obligations and rights of property
  • Rights to manage and control property
  • Assets accumulated during the marriage
  • Spousal support
  • Division of property in case of the following (i.e., divorce, death, or other)
  • Will or trust carrying out the agreement
  • Rights of spouse in a life insurance policy

Pre-marital agreements have to be accepted by the court to appear as legitimate during a divorce settlement. The best way to do that is to file a pre-marital agreement with a pre-marital agreements lawyer who can make sure that the pre-marital agreement drafted by you, your spouse, or your spouse’s representative meets the following guidelines:

  • The agreement is in writing
  • Both parties have voluntarily signed the agreement
  • Both parties fully disclosed their property, assets, interests, and financial obligations
  • The agreement is reasonable and not one-sided
  • Signatures must be notarized

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Why Have a Pre-Marital Agreement in Texas?

Texas is a community property state, which means that in case of a divorce or death of a spouse, everything is divided equally between spouses. Community property can seem unfair to a spouse whose hard-earned asset is cut in half with the other person. Additionally, Texas does recognize separate property inside a marriage, which is property usually labeled as off-limits during a divorce settlement.

Separate property in Texas includes:

  • Property owned before marriage
  • Gifts
  • Family heirlooms or antiques
  • Personal injury settlements (exceptions apply)
  • Inheritance

However, deciding what separate property is vs. what it is not, can get complicated, because spouses might not agree on the timeline of those items. Stocks, bonds, or real estate, for example, might have accumulated during the marriage and will have to be divided upon divorce. Lastly, in case of a spouse’s death, pre-marital agreements can establish a spouse as the primary beneficiary to all of the deceased husband’s property and avoid potential conflict with the other spouse’s family.

If the case does make it to trial, the court can be an unpredictable setting in which judges have the last word and having a legal contract in place is very useful. If you have a pre-marital agreement in place, both the court and divorce lawyer will, at some point, refer to the pre-marital agreement signed by both spouses to move the divorce case further along.

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What a Pre-Marital Agreement Cannot Do

Even though pre-marital agreements can decide on a lot of the issues that might arise in case of a divorce or spouse’s death, some items are not allowed on a pre-marital agreement. Including these issues, generally discouraged inside a pre-marital agreement, can make a judge or legal representative question the validity of the pre-marital agreement during a divorce.

Pre-marital agreements cannot do the following:

  • Include personal matters unrelated to finances
  • Encourage a dissolution of marriage
  • Contain terms along the lines of exploitation
  • Determine child support or child custody
  • Waive a spousal’s rights to pension benefits (exceptions apply)
  • Include any issue of criminal activity or public policy
  • Be modified unless both spouses sign a consensual written agreement

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Additional Resources

Pre-Marital Agreements | Texas Legislature – You can refer to the Texas Constitution and Statutes page for specific laws inside the Texas Family Code concerning both pre-marital agreements and division of property. Chapters 3 and 7 are the main chapters when determining pre-marital agreement concerns.  

Divorce Statistics – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives an overview of the divorce rates happening in the U.S. according to each state. Though not everyone is going to fall into the statistics, pre-marital agreements are advisable as a preventable measure.

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Attorney for Pre-Marital Agreements in Cameron County, Texas

If you want to secure your wealth in and out of marriage, it is best to contact an attorney who handles pre-marital agreements.  Pre-marital agreements are not a sign of divorce to come, but they can protect you in case of a marriage or a death. Particular issues arise in a divorce situation in which there are no pre-marital agreements, and you and your soon to be ex-spouse do not agree on a division that satisfies both of you. 

At The Gracia Law Firm, P.C., we are here to support your own financial goals in your marriage. Establishing a pre-marital agreement can assure that you and your spouse have an open conversation about money and the future financial plans inside your marriage. We are here to accommodate you and your spouse in order to meet your expectations best.

Our Brownsville-based attorneys work with clients from all over Cameron County, Willacy County, and Hidalgo County. Call us at 956-504-2211 to schedule a consultation.