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What are the requirements for a prenuptial agreement?

When properly executed, a prenuptial agreement can decide many issues in advance, should the couple later divorce. However, these agreements can't decide every issue, and they must meet certain requirements in order to be enforceable.

It is important to keep in mind that prenuptial agreements must be in writing and must be signed by both parties. Absent a prenuptial agreement, state laws and the community property system in Texas will determine the division of property if the couple decides to end their marriage.

A prenuptial agreement in Texas can help spell out how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. It can also address spousal support in certain circumstances, but cannot address child support. Prenuptial agreements can also address concerns that may arise after one of the spouses dies, and provide for many other possibilities.

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between soon-to-be spouses so it is important to keep in mind that important legal requirements apply. The contracts become effective when the parties marry, but they may later to be found invalid if they fail to meet formal requirements, violate the law or run afoul of certain guidelines.

Circumstances that will render the agreement invalid include: if the agreement was not signed voluntarily; if fair and reasonable financial disclosures were not made; or if the court finds that the terms of the agreement violate public policy or are unconscionable.

Drafting prenuptial agreements, executing them and enforcing them can be complex, so it is important that the parties are familiar with the rules and requirements of prenuptial agreements. Both parties to the agreement must be represented independently by counsel, so it is important for those considering a prenuptial agreement to seek out help from qualified attorneys.

Source: www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us, "Family Code," Accessed May 10, 2016

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