Many parties in Texas enter into premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements or simply “prenups.” Generally speaking, prenuptial agreements are important for parties of varying socioeconomic backgrounds who want to reach an agreement about how property will be handled in the event of a divorce, in addition to coming to an agreement about other financial matters if the marriage ultimately ends in divorce.
Since Texas is a community property state, most property acquired after the date of the marriage will be classified as community property (as opposed to separate property) and will be divided in a divorce between the spouses. However, if the spouses agreed in a premarital agreement that certain assets would not be subject to division, then the parties are likely assuming the premarital agreement will be enforced. For example, the parties might have agreed that all retirement assets, which would normally be considered community property, would not be subject to division.
There are a variety of reasons one of the spouses might want to challenge the terms of the premarital agreement. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be able to challenge the agreement, but it may be difficult.
When the Marriage is Valid, but a Premarital Agreement is Unenforceable
If you want to challenge your prenup, you will need to know the grounds on which a premarital agreement is unenforceable under Texas law. Assume the marriage itself is valid and lawful, the following two (2) reasons are likely the only possible grounds on which the court may rule your premarital agreement is unenforceable:
- You did not voluntarily sign the agreement; or
- Agreement was unconscionable at the time you signed it, and all the following are also true:
- You were not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of your spouse’s property or financial obligations;
- You did not voluntarily and expressly waive your right to that disclosure in writing; and
- You did not have and could not have reasonably had adequate knowledge of your spouse’s property or financial obligations.
Accordingly, if you have a valid marriage and you want to challenge the entirety of your prenup or one of the terms in it, one of the above conditions typically must be true. To sum up, either you must not have signed the agreement voluntarily, or the agreement must have been unconscionable when you did sign it.
Seek Advice from a Dallas Divorce Lawyer
If you want to challenge the terms of your prenup, you should seek advice from a Dallas family law attorney as soon as possible. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP for more information.