San Antonio Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys
Comprehensive Marital Contracts for You & Your Spouse
People often have a negative perception of pre and postnuptial agreements, viewing them as largely unnecessary unless one party can see the marriage ending in divorce. In truth, the vast majority of married individuals should have a pre or postnup - it can help you simultaneously protect your property and forge a stronger bond with your spouse.
At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyers will work with you and your partner's legal counsel to draft a thorough prenup that suits your needs.
What Can a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Contain?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts signed by two spouses that include various arrangements for handling property (and other aspects of the marriage) during and after the marriage.
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can contain various details such as:
- What rights each spouse has to marital property, and how they intend to distribute said property if the marriage dissolves;
- How each spouse can use property during the marriage (i.e., whether they can sell, use, transfer, etc. property, and if so to what extent);
- What happens to marital property in the event a party dies or becomes incapacitated;
- Including provisions for the prenup or postnup in any existing estate planning documents such as wills, life insurance policies, etc.;
- Whether one party has rights to alimony in the event of a divorce.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements offer spouses a legally enforceable method for handling property responsibilities during and after a marriage. Although many courts were once reluctant to enforce prenups, laws surrounding prenups have become standardized enough that, assuming both you and your partner hire an attorney and take the proper steps, you should have no issues drafting an enforceable marriage contract.
What Can't I Include in My Prenup?
You can't utilize a prenup to stipulate conditions for child support and custody post-marriage.
Child custody and support arrangements are highly flexible and also often differ significantly depending on the child(ren)'s needs. What's appropriate for one child may not be appropriate for another.
As a result, terms in a prenup pertaining to child support or custody are unenforceable.
What Makes a Pre or Postnup Enforceable?
Texas utilizes the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) to determine whether a pre or postnup is enforceable in a court of law.
For a court to enforce your prenup, it must:
- Be a written contract. Oral prenuptial agreements are invalid.
- Be fair to each party and supported by consideration. The basic premise of "consideration" is that for a party to gain something in a pre or postnup, they must give up something in return.
- Allow for each party to consider the proposed terms of the prenup for a certain amount of time (often a week) before signing the pre or postnup.
However, a pre or postnup is unenforceable if it:
- Was not signed voluntarily by both parties.
- Is unconscionable in some way. An unconscionable prenup is one the court determines shouldn't be upheld. If one party fails to comply with the terms of the UPAA, for example by hiding assets while drafting a prenup, the court may render it unenforceable.
Do I Need a Prenup or Postnup?
Many people wonder whether a pre or postnup is right for them. As a general rule of thumb, anyone can benefit from formulating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with their soon-to-be or current spouse.
Some reasons you may want to consider a pre or postnup include:
- You have valuable property you want to protect. Whether you have property worth a significant amount of money or items you have a strong emotional connection to, a prenup can help ensure you have control over your property during and after a marriage.
- You want to protect your spouse from risky investments. By stipulating certain assets and liabilities remain separate property, you can protect another party from getting wrapped up in risky financial investments.
- You want all the cards on the table. As part of drafting a prenup, you and your spouse must disclose all separate and marital property holdings to one another. If you're not entirely sure what assets or liabilities your partner has, a prenup can help you get a better idea of their financial situation prior to or during your marriage.
- You need a barrier against risky spending. Just like you can use a prenup to protect your partner from risky investments you make, a pre or postnup can also protect you from the consequences of your spouse's money management habits.
- You want to put doubts about your marriage to bed. Individuals with valuable assets are often concerned that a partner may want them for their assets. If your spouse is willing to sign a comprehensive pre or postnup, it can assuage any fears you have about whether they're "in it for the money."
At the end of the day, signing a pre or postnup isn't only a good way to protect your property - it also enables you to forge a stronger bond with your partner.
At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio prenup attorneys will help you develop a comprehensive pre or postnup that protects your rights and property.