One of the most uncomfortable, yet important, topics for newly engaged or married couples is money. This could be why it remains one of the top reasons that couples here in Texas and elsewhere divorce. This is also why many people immediately think of divorce when they hear about prenuptial (before marriage) or postnuptial (after marriage) agreements.
The parties can predetermine how they will divide their property in the event of a divorce. The state of Texas already identifies any property owned by an individual prior to marriage as being that person’s separate property. If it is property that will appreciate during the marriage, any increase could be divided in a divorce unless the parties agree otherwise. The agreement cannot leave one party at a substantial financial disadvantage, however.
There are other reasons to execute these agreements that have nothing to do with divorce. Many people use them as financial and estate planning tools. For example, if you have children from a prior marriage and want to ensure that they inherit some or all of your property in the event of your death, your new spouse can waive his or her right to any of your separate property. This could help avoid a will contest by either your surviving spouse or your children upon death. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can also be used to set financial goals for the parties during the marriage.
Regardless of the motivation, executing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can provide both parties with the peace of mind that certain financial issues are discussed and resolved. Even with their many advantages, neither party should feel as though they are being coerced or pushed into any agreement. Both parties should have the opportunity to have an attorney at least review it before it is executed. Furthermore, both parties should have ample time to consider the agreement and to gain a full understanding of what they are agreeing to before signing. Otherwise, the agreement might not be considered valid under Texas law.