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3 items that must be in a Texas premarital agreement

There are several items that must be in a Texas prenuptial agreement in order for the contract to be considered valid.

In Texas, the number of people entering into premarital agreements is on the rise. According to a report from CNBC, over the last 20 years, there has been a fivefold jump in these contracts across the country. This is in part because people recognize the risk of ending a marriage and losing a significant amount of assets.

Simply putting thoughts or intentions in writing is not enough to protect property, as most people know. In Texas, there are several items that must be included in a premarital agreement in order for it to be enforceable in a court of law. Those include the following:

1. Both signatures

Both parties must sign the agreement, which must be in writing. There is no consideration required in entering this type of contract.

2. Signatures Must be Voluntary

Both parties must sign without any coercion or duress.

3. Full disclosure

The agreement may not be unconscionable when it was signed AND each spouse should have received a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property and financial obligations of the other party before entering into the contract (or voluntarily and expressly waive the right to further disclosure beyond what was provided).

Topics that may be addressed

A premarital agreement may be used to decide a number of items, such as the following:

  • How property may be separated or awarded in a divorce
  • What type of spousal support may be provided
  • Ownership of a life insurance policy
  • Rights to control - including buy, sell or transfer - property
  • Making a will to carry out the provisions of the agreement

These documents may not, however, adversely affect child support or child custody or authorize an act that violates public policy or law.

Challenging a prenuptial agreement

It is possible for a party to challenge the agreement, though nullifying the contract may be difficult. In fact, these documents are typically only unenforceable when there is an issue with one of the above three points. For example, the agreement must be signed without any kind of coercion or duress. If it can be proved that one party felt he or she had to sign against his or her will, the contract could be nullified.

If a spouse finds out that he or she did not have all the financial information of the other person, the contract may be challenged. Further, if the contract was not put in writing or not signed by both parties, the agreement would not be enforceable.

Entering into a premarital agreement should be done with caution. It is imperative to have sound legal advice when reviewing how property will be divided, as it could have serious effects on a person's financial future. People who have concerns about this issue should speak with a family law attorney in Texas.

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