Marital Agreements

Marital property acts in Texas have a complicated history. They can have a large and lasting effect on a divorce, the division of property between spouses, and things such as child support and alimony. But local laws and statutes, along with established case law have made them difficult to enforce, and they’ve typically been looked down upon by the Texas court system. However, amendments to the Texas Constitution, along with changes made to local laws over the years have served to bring these agreements more into the legal mainstream, and change the way they’re viewed.

Premarital Agreements

The conditions these agreements deal with are specifically laid out in Section 4.003 of the Texas Family Code. They include:

  • The rights of each spouse in regards to property they own. This includes management and the right to sell, as well as what will happen to it in case of divorce, death, or other unexpected events.
  • Changes to alimony and other forms of spousal support.
  • Trusts and wills as they relate to carrying out the terms of the agreement.
  • Life insurance and death benefits.

You can read more about what these agreements cover, as laid out by the Texas Family Code.

Postnuptial Agreements

 

Postnuptial agreements, which are made after a couple has been married, assist spouses in accomplishing many of the same goals as premarital agreements. Converting community property into separate property or separate property into community property is just one example. They also allow for spouses to agree, at any time, that income or property arising from the separate property that is owned by them at the time of the agreement, or thereafter acquired, shall be the separate property of the owner.

You may be thinking, “Why would two spouses come to an agreement like this?” The answer is that agreements such as these help circumvent problems that may arise in the event of divorce or death. Ultimately, they may be unnecessary, but it always helps to plan for the worst.

Drafting marital agreements takes an analytical eye, and an ability to foresee a wide range of possible outcomes. They should be drafted by an attorney who understands the ways in which they’re attacked, and can help a couple plan in such a way that their finances will be protected and what was accomplished in the agreement will be upheld. If done incorrectly, it could spell disaster for a couple’s financial future.

The attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson have the experience necessary to protect your estate and ensure that, should the need arise, the agreement you enter into with your spouse will hold up when you need it most.

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