If you don't have a prenuptial agreement, you could lose real estate, retirement savings, and other assets when your marriage ends.
Prenups help spouses divide assets and debts in the event of a divorce. The agreement can also address other financial issues.
A prenup lawyer from The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, can help you and your spouse draft a prenuptial agreement.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup is a legally binding contract that two people agree to prior to their marriage. Typically, these documents contain a list of all the property each individual owns and their rights in the event that the marriage is ended. While premarital agreements are most commonly associated with wealthy couples who wish to protect their assets, these documents serve a variety of functions.
The Texas Family Code abides by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This means that Texas family courts will recognize prenuptial agreements that were validly entered in another state.
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Protect Your Assets A Prenup Can Save Your Future
Are you entering a marriage with considerable assets? Are you worried about losing those assets if your marriage fails? The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt helps men and women throughout the greater Arlington area to draft prenuptial agreements that can keep you from losing the property and assets with which you entered your marriage, in addition to providing other crucial benefits. Contact us today if you are interested in or have questions about prenuptial agreements.
What Can Happen if You Get Married Without a Prenup
Without a prenup, you could experience a number of undesirable results if your marriage comes to an end, including:
- Property you had before the marriage will be more difficult to prevent being treated like community property and divided between you and your ex-spouse
- Income generated through your separate property is subject to division
- Assets and money you wish to leave to your children could become property of your ex-spouse
- Your alimony agreement will be determined by a judge, rather than being capped or waived
Although people enter marriages intending to maintain a lifelong partnership of trust and mutual benefits, the fact is that these unions frequently deteriorate and involve highly contentious legal proceedings concerning money, custody, and more. Donna J. Smeidt's firm is renowned for its family law services regarding divorce, child support, and much more. We are here to help you draft an agreement that can serve the best interests of you and your children if your marriage comes to an end.
What to Include
in a Prenup
The State of Texas allows prenuptial agreements to include the following:
- Rights and obligations related to property
- Division of assets and debts in the event of divorce
- Allocation of property following a spouse's death
- Rights to spousal support (alimony)
Each prenuptial agreement is different. It is crucial to have legal counsel review your needs while drafting a prenup to ensure the language is accurate and serves your best interests.
The Limits of
Prenups can have a bearing on spousal support, but they cannot contain language that determines child custody or places limits on child support. In addition, prenups cannot dictate personal or social behaviors, such as household chores, child rearing preferences, or conduct with in-laws and other relatives. Your prenup cannot contain any provisions that violate public policy.
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Speak with an Attorney About Prenups Contact The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt
A divorce can be contentious and difficult, especially when there is no prenuptial agreement in place. That's why many people in Arlington, Southlake, and Westover Hills, TX, come to our law office for advice. Attorney Donna J. Smiedt can help you and your spouse write your prenup, taking everyone's best interests into account.
In addition to prenups, our lawyers help clients through other family law issues, including child custody, visitation rights, and Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations. Our team will give you focus and peace of mind so you can approach any challenges feeling fully informed.
If you need help with a prenuptial agreement, contact our law firm online. You can also reach our family law office in Arlington by phone.
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Why You Need a Prenup Lawyer
Professional Assessment of Your NeedsAn attorney can help you and your spouse see the big picture. Sometimes a third party is necessary for this wider point of view. A lawyer can go over your current assets and debts, and have you both think about your financial needs in the future.
Knowledge of the Texas Family CodeMarriage and divorce laws can be confusing for the average person. An attorney who's familiar with family law knows the nuances of the Texas Family Code and can help you understand the do's and don'ts of prenups.
Avoid Costly MistakesA prenuptial agreement is only enforceable if it's properly worded and filed. Prenuptial agreement lawyers can check the stipulations and language. They'll make sure the document is in good shape before it's finalized.
Reduce Stress and Personal DisputesEven loving spouses can find the prenup process tense. Minor disagreements can lead to heated arguments. Having a prenuptial agreement attorney on your side can prevent your emotions from getting in the way and keep the process professional.
Draft Your Prenup
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Contact The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt
Even if a divorce doesn't seem like a possibility right now, a prenup can give you and your spouse peace of mind in case situations change. Our law office serving Arlington, Southlake, and Westover Hills, TX, can also help with child custody disputes and issues related to child support and alimony. To discuss prenuptial agreements with our family law attorneys, request a consultation online. You can also reach The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt by phone.
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Will a Prenup Strain My Marriage?
Planning for the possibility of divorce or death before you're married can be a difficult discussion for couples. Many spouses-to-be are especially concerned that acknowledging the possibility of divorce before marriage may place a strain on the relationship. However, couples often find that a prenup actually builds trust, since it can establish that both parties' interests in a legal union aren't simply about financial gain.
A prenup can make sure that you and your intended spouse are on the same page in case the future takes an unforeseen turn. Have an open discussion with your intended spouse and know that our Arlington firm is here to help draft an agreement that makes you both feel comfortable entering into a marriage.
Changing a Prenup During Marriage
You can amend or nullify a prenuptial agreement after you and your spouse are married. Both you and your spouse have to agree to the modifications, and a new agreement must be made in writing and signed by both parties. Our law office can help couples in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area who need to alter or revoke their existing prenup.
Generally, amending a prenup is a good choice for couples if one spouse decides to stop working and stay home to care for children. Amending a prenuptial agreement can ensure couples will have the financial resources they need in the event of a divorce or death.
Is My Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?
Certain factors could invalidate your prenuptial agreements. It's important that you have a lawyer to guide you through the process so you don't accidentally render your prenup null and void.
Factors that may invalidate your prenup:
- The agreement is not in writing
- A spouse hides or undervalues assets
- A spouse was forced/coerced into signing the prenup
- A spouse was deceived when signing the prenup
- Mistakes were made in filing the prenup
- The terms of the prenup are unfair or unconscionable
If you believe any of the above factors apply to your situation, we encourage you to contact our divorce lawyers for a consultation. Our Arlington-based legal team can explain how a voided prenup will affect your divorce proceedings, and what it may mean for you and your spouse financially.
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Challenging Prenups in Texas
To challenge the validity of a prenup in Texas, you must show that you either did not sign the agreement voluntarily or that the agreement was unconscionable (unreasonable) when you signed it. If you were coerced into signing the agreement, intoxicated at the time of signing it, or suffered from a medical condition that affected your judgment, you may be able to argue that you did not sign the prenup agreement voluntarily.
When Is a Prenup Unconscionable?
One of the easiest ways to determine that a prenuptial agreement is unconscionable—meaning it is not reasonable—is if a spouse did not disclose all of their assets when signing the agreement. Failing to disclose finances can make the prenup unenforceable.
It should be noted that a prenup is not considered unconscionable if it favors one party over another. When it comes to determining if an agreement is unconscionable, courts will consider a variety of factors as they apply to both parties, such as:
- Maturity level
- Educational background
- Previous marriages
Each case is determined individually. Our Arlington firm can review your prenup if you believe it may be invalid due to being unreasonable.
How Donna J. Smeidt Can Help With Prenuptial Agreement Disputes
Proving that a prenup is unconscionable or unreasonable is difficult in Texas since the term is undefined in the Texas Family Code. Instead, courts rely on previous cases involving fraud and coercion to gauge if an agreement is entered "voluntarily," according to the State Bar of Texas. Few prenuptial agreements have been struck down for being unconscionable, according to the State Bar of Texas.
In order to invalidate a prenup, a court must determine the agreement was unfair and crucial financial information was withheld at the time of the signing.
Having a prenup lawyer can help you challenge or defend a prenup in the case of a divorce or death. Our Arlington family attorneys also represent clients who are in the process of divorcing. If your spouse is challenging the validity of your agreement during divorce, call the Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt today.
What About Postnups?
In addition to prenuptial agreements, Texas law also recognizes postnuptial agreements. Drafted after spouses are married, a postnup helps determine the financial rights and responsibilities of each spouse in case of divorce. Postnups are useful when a spouse wants to claim specific assets or debts acquired during marriage as separate property rather than marital property.
Matching Your Prenup With Your Will
A prenuptial agreement can play a role in how your assets are allocated after you die, but it is not a replacement for an estate plan. A will defines who inherits your property after your death, end-of-life decisions, and funeral arrangements. These are aspects of your life that a prenuptial agreement may not be able to define.
Should your will or your spouse's will conflict with a prenuptial agreement, it could lead to a legal battle in the case of a death. The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, can review both your partner's estate plans and your own while drafting your prenuptial agreement to avoid these disputes.
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