A prenuptial agreement in Texas is a tool crafted by you, your loved one, and a prenup attorney in Houston to help build a strong marriage for your current and future family. In fact, prenups are becoming an increasingly common part of new marriages, as the benefits of a prenup extend past the event of divorce. A strong prenuptial agreement can even help couples stay together by establishing communication about complicated topics, including property division and finances, before they become an issue.
The Houston prenup attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta understand how deeply personal (and stressful) preparing for marriage can be. That’s why we work closely with you and your future spouse to set up a strong prenuptial agreement that swiftly and effectively guards your interests.
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Who is a prenup beneficial to?
Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for wealthy spouses. With the help of a prenup attorney in Houston, your prenuptial agreements can have important benefits for former spouses, your past and future children, other family members, and even business partners. Our deep expertise as Houston business litigation attorneys and family law attorneys in Houston make us uniquely qualified to counsel you through every aspect of a prenup agreement.
Prenups can be beneficial to:
- Property owners: If you own commercial or residential property prior to the time of your marriage, a prenup can keep it out of community property during a divorce or untimely death.
- Business owners: If you own a business at the time of your marriage, a prenup agreement can allow you to retain your ownership in the event of divorce or untimely death.
- Children from another marriage: if you have children from a previous marriage, a prenup can ensure that they are taken care of via inheritance.
- Your spouse: Prenups aren’t just about protecting you and your assets. They can also protect your spouse from debts you’ve accrued by defining debt ownership prior to marriage.
How do I get a prenup in Texas? | Texas prenup requirements
Before you begin pursuing a prenup, there are certain steps you must take in order for the agreement to remain valid and enforceable. Your Houston prenup lawyer can help you make sure that conditions like these are met:
- Both parties must have their own independent legal counsel.
- Both parties must fully disclose all existing assets and those they know they will obtain in the future (inheritances, payouts, etc.).
- Current incomes must be divulged alongside any expected increases such as bonuses, raises, or receipt of company stock.
- No part of the prenup can stipulate illegal conditions (view below section on “what cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement”).
- Both parties must sign the prenup voluntarily with adequate time before the marriage. Last-minute prenups signed the day before or of the wedding can be contested as involuntary.
What to include in a prenuptial agreement in Texas
Although each prenuptial agreement is tailored to meet the needs of the individual couple, there are several standard areas that are often included in prenups including assets, debts, businesses, and wealth.
Other terms that can be included are:
- Opting for mediation in the case of divorce (Learn more about high net worth divorce attorneys in Houston)
- Who will continue living in the shared home and who will be responsible for the mortgage, utilities, and taxes
- Whether one party will be responsible for the other’s debts
- Establishing whether alimony will be paid and by who
- Ensuring children from previous relationships have access to your assets
What cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement?
Texas law has restrictions as to what can and cannot be included in your prenuptial agreement. For instance, according to Texas Family Code Section 4.003 (b), you cannot include terms that “adversely concern child support”.
Other terms that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement in Texas include:
- Provisions on anything unlawful
- Decisions on child support, child custody, or visitation rights (The state of Texas has the final decision in these matters. In this case, it’d be in your best interest to hire a custody attorney.)
- Financial incentive to divorce
- Personal preferences on non-financial issues (i.e. who is responsible for the dishes, where holidays will be spent, child-rearing, etc.)
If you have questions about what can or cannot be included in a prenup, your best bet is to hire a prenup lawyer in The Woodlands from Grimes and Fertitta. Not only can we help answer your questions, but we can offer you individual advice and work with you to write up a valid contract that follows Texas state laws.
Do I need a lawyer for a prenup in Texas?
Creating a prenuptial agreement with your prenup lawyer in Houston doesn’t have to mean you and your spouse are planning for divorce. While a prenup can help divorce proceedings move more smoothly and with less conflict, there are many additional benefits to these arrangements — especially if you have a complicated estate or inheritance needs or have children from a previous marriage.
Here are just a few of the reasons many newly engaged couples are deciding to hire a Houston prenup lawyer:
- Clarifying property ownership: According to Texas law, property acquired during a marriage is owned jointly and may be split 50/50 in a divorce. With a prenup in place, you and your spouse can better define personal ownership in terms that fit your needs.
- Protecting family assets and estates: Some inheritances are meant to stay in the family. A prenup can help ensure that your valuable heirlooms and family assets (including businesses, personal effects, and property) stay where they belong should you or your spouse pass away unexpectedly or in the case of a high asset divorce.
- Ensuring your children from a previous marriage are taken care of: Prenups allow you to specifically set aside assets for any children with a previous partner or your current partner.
- Protecting your spouse from debt: A prenup can limit debt liability, protecting your spouse from having their marital property seized by creditors to pay debts held solely by you, or vice-versa.
- Establishing clarity and honesty: When two people with different financial situations marry, unresolved questions surrounding assets, estates, and ownership can generate conflict even without a pending divorce. A well-defined prenup will help you and your future spouse communicate fairly and openly about these complicated topics before they can become an issue.
What to expect in your initial consultation
In the initial consultation with your Houston prenup attorney, you will likely go over any necessary paperwork and review your assets, property, and debts so that your lawyer can get a big-picture understanding of your unique situation.
To get the most out of your initial consultation, be sure that you are coming to the meeting prepared. Documents you may want to bring with you include:
- Bank and brokerage account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETF statements
- Life insurance policies
- Tax returns
- Credit card statements and debt obligations
- Pay stubs
- Property information including mortgage amount and market value of the home
- Information on owned automobile, boats, planes, or any other motor vehicles
- Documentation of your businesses value
Keep in mind that even if you have already written your prenup on your own, you cannot simply bring it to a lawyer to get it signed. You will need to schedule an initial consultation so that your prenup lawyer can get a better understanding of your current assets, wealth, and debts before reviewing your prenup.
Hire a prenup attorney in Houston who truly cares for you and your family.
Even if you and your spouse are on the same page, it is essential that you have your own Houston prenup attorney when negotiating or signing a prenuptial agreement in Texas. While you focus on your upcoming wedding and your life with your spouse, our attorneys will focus on protecting your best interests, no matter what the future holds.
If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets, your spouse, your business, or your children, contact a Houston prenup lawyer at Grimes & Fertitta.
During your initial consultation at one of our office locations, we will listen to your goals and priorities before recommending a strategy that serves your best interests. To arrange your consultation, please contact us online or call us at 713-224-7644.