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Is my prenuptial agreement enforceable?

Last week's post detailed the reasons couples might want to sign a prenuptial agreement before they get married in Texas. With more couples in debt than ever before, marrying parties want to know who will assume these obligations if the marriage doesn't work out. They also want to be sure that if their business becomes the next 'Etsy', their sudden wealth will be protected. A prenuptial agreement is one way to take property division out of the court's hands and put it in the couple's.

But not all prenuptial agreements are enforceable; therefore, it is important to know what legal formalities must be completed to ensure yours is not thrown out of court. The Texas Family Code Chapter 4 lays out some of the essentials.

Firstly, like any other contract, the premarital agreement must be signed by both parties and in writing. Also, it must be entered into before the couple gets married, and it becomes effective upon their marriage. Where the agreement can include details about spousal support, obligations and rights of each party towards all forms of property, the right to buy and sell such property and the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement, it cannot violate public policy or adversely affect the right to child support.

The agreement must be signed voluntarily, and disclosure is essential before the agreement is signed. Disclosure means that each party must provide a fair and reasonable disclosure of their property or financial obligations before signing the agreement. If this does not take place, it must be shown the other party voluntarily and knowingly signed a waiver of this right. If the agreement is found to be unconscionable on this basis, the court has the discretion to declare it as unenforceable.

It is essential then to ensure that the legalities pertaining to an enforceable prenuptial agreement are fulfilled, so the couple can correctly rely on the document and proceed throughout their marriage accordingly. Whether it involves complex property division or simple straightforward division, getting legal help can always be beneficial. This could also help to avoid post-divorce issues as well.

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