The wedding day is fast-approaching: the venue is secured, friends and family members have made travel plans, and most of the details have been completed. You are ready to rest, relax, and enjoy the days leading up to this milestone event. But then, your soon-to-be-spouse presents you with a premarital agreement to sign. What should you do?
Texas has allowed people about to marry to enter into premarital agreements for many years. In the last five years though, we have seen a significant increase in the number of couples who request premarital agreements. What do you do if you are presented one to sign?
Before you sign a premarital agreement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Was this a mutual decision?
- How much do you know about your partner’s finances?
- What are you and/or your partner trying to protect?
- Do you know anything about Texas community property laws?
- What is in it for you?
These questions are significant because the Texas Family Code sets out the exclusive remedies and defenses available to enforce premarital agreements. As tempting as it is to just sign the document so you can refocus on the upcoming wedding, you would be wise to pause. You cannot later invalidate an agreement because you changed your mind or you did not understand the law or the provisions of the agreement.
Premarital agreements can be a simple as each person confirming what property they bring into the marriage and as complex as eliminating any community estate and dictating what happens in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. The primary purpose of a premarital agreement is to modify Texas’ community property laws. Modifying the law impacts not only the financial aspects of any future divorce but also impacts estate planning.
Before saying “I Do” to a premarital agreement, meet with a competent family law attorney and get the facts and the law governing these documents.
Article original featured in Austin Woman Magazine.