Postnuptial agreements are similar to premarital contracts except that post-marital agreements are signed after the marriage has already begun. I realize that this will not be an earth-shattering revelation for me to make, but it bears mentioning that the motivations behind signing an agreement of some sort with your spouse will have changed now that you are married.
The law in Texas holds that you and your spouse may agree to and sign a postnuptial agreement where a portion or all of their community estate is included in the deal in some form or fashion. A standard part of this agreement is that either your income or your spouse's income will be the separate property of whichever one of you has earned those wages.
The other spouse will have no claim to it should a divorce occur. Regardless of the type of income or property partitioned, if the property or income goes to you in the agreement, then it is yours free and clear of any subsequent orders from a court or negotiations between you and your spouse.
A pre-nuptial agreement can take separate property into part of the community estate.
Suppose you and your spouse agree to do so. In that case, a piece of property that was previously a part of one of your separate estates can be converted into community property within the pre-nuptial agreement. A statement that "Piece of Separate Property" is now part of the community estate is what I am referencing here, as opposed to you transferring the title to a piece of your separate property to your spouse or deeding a piece of land that was in your name to your significant other.
Requirements of a postnuptial agreement in Texas
Texas law holds that specific requirements must be met for your postnuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable.
For starters, like a testament, a postnuptial agreement must be in writing for a court to enforce the contracts contained within it.
Must be Signed
Both you and your spouse must have signed the document free of any fraud, coercion, or another factor that may have unduly or unfairly influenced your decision-making capabilities.
Free of any Fraud or Duress
The failure of one party to sign the agreement and the possibility of fraud or coercion being in existence are probably the two most commonly stated reasons as to why the validity of a postnuptial agreement may be challenged by either you or your spouse.
Must Disclose Financials or Waive Disclosure
The other big reason that family law attorneys in Texas encounter are a similar reason for going back and having to open up a previously closed divorce case- that there was a failure by one spouse to disclose information that otherwise stated would have caused the agreement not to be signed off on by one party. This two-part analysis must show that one spouse withheld the information and secondly, the "innocent" spouse would have had no other way of knowing this information.
What are some motivating factors for signing a postnuptial agreement?
If you entered into your marriage with plenty of assets and very little or no debt, but your spouse is in the opposite position, then you know what it is like to have creditors hounding you for money and payments.
This may have come as a shock to your system and caused you to consider your options regarding how best to protect your assets. A postnuptial agreement is one way that you and your spouse can actively protect the assets that creditors could seek in collection efforts for your spouse's debts.
I have also seen married people enter into pre-nuptial agreements when their marriage is on the rocks and in need of shoring up through therapy or counseling. If you are questioning whether your marriage can last, you are likely asking the motivations and motives of your spouse, at least to a certain extent.
A postnuptial agreement can decrease the level of suspicion by both you and your spouse before these important therapy sessions begin. What better way to ensure that your intentions are purely the maintenance of your marriage rather than an attempt to shield or steal away a portion of your spouse's assets?
If you partition your assets and debts before beginning counseling, both you and your spouse understand what the playing field is and can have greater peace of mind as a result.
Finally, it could be that you or your spouse are taking on a new business opportunity, expanding an existing business, or have come into money through an inheritance or gift from a family member. Suppose you all have engaged in a recent "big ticket" purchase or plan to engage in risk like expanding a business. In that case, it may be beneficial for you and your spouse to insulate the "other" spouse from the risks incurred by the spouse about to take on a loan.
I have seen a situation before involving a spouse taking out loans on behalf of her business. She was using inheritance money to pay for the debt, and the married couple was experiencing tough financial times.
When fear and worry over money rise to this level, then a postnuptial agreement can put those fears to rest. For instance, in the above situation, the family home was transferred into the husband's name to provide him and the children with the security of knowing that their home would not be in jeopardy should the wife's business creditors begin to look for assets to pay off unpaid debts. At the same time, this agreement alleviated concerns that the wife had towards her husband's perceived lack of faith in the future success of her business.
Questions about postnuptial agreements? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, represents clients in many different capacities, one of which is drafting postnuptial agreements. To learn more about this process and to have any questions you have answered on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact our office today. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: "16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce"
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Can a postnuptial agreement save your marriage after one spouse is unfaithful?
- Prenuptial Agreements in Texas
- Should I sign a Texas Premarital or Prenuptial Agreement?
- Common Questions about Texas Prenuptial and Marital Agreements
- Making Postnuptial Agreements Stick in a Texas Divorce
- Attacking the Enforceability of a Premarital Agreement in a Texas Divorce
- My Fiancé wants me to sign a Texas Prenup. What should I do?
- Dower Contracts and a Texas Divorce
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- When is Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Six things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Post-nuptial Agreement Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Postnuptial Agreements, it's essential to speak with a Houston, TX Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A Post-nuptial Agreement Lawyerin HoustonTX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.