What are the Requirements for a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) can provide clarity for a couple in the event of a divorce. Although not the most romantic thing in the world, there are several different tangible benefits associated with a prenup. Texas law allows couples to sign prenuptial agreements—but they must meet certain legal requirements to be enforceable in the state. Texas follows the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. In this article, our Fort Worth family lawyers explain the key things to know about the legal requirements for a prenup in Texas.
The Prenuptial Agreement Must Be Written and Signed By Both Parties
The fundamental requirement for a valid prenuptial agreement is that it must be a written contract. Further, it must explicitly document the assets, liabilities, and property rights of each party. An oral agreement—no matter how sincere or earnest that agreement might be—does not hold the same legal weight as a written one in Texas. Oral prenups are not enforceable.
Beyond that, both spouses must sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily—without any coercion or duress. An agreement that is not signed by both parties is not valid. The signature is a legal acknowledgment of their acceptance of the terms laid out in the document. The requirement is crucial because it safeguards the integrity of the agreement.
The Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Be “Unconscionable” (Grossly Unfair)
Texas will not enforce a “grossly unfair” prenuptial agreement. The law does not permit an agreement that unduly favors one party over the other, especially if one party is left with little to no resources. When assessing whether a prenuptial agreement is unconscionable, the court may look at various factors. These could include the relative wealth and income of the parties, their access to independent legal advice, and whether full financial disclosure was made.
Note: In Texas, both spouses should consult with their own lawyer before signing a prenup.
The Prenuptial Agreement Should Not Include Child Custody or Child Support
While prenuptial agreements can effectively address many issues related to the dissolution of a marriage, there are areas that they should not cover, most notably child custody and child support. It is a common misconception that these matters can be predetermined in a prenuptial agreement.
In other words, a prenuptial agreement should be focused on property-related matters and other financial matters. For example, if one spouse had a family home that they owned from before their marriage, they could use a prenup to protect that home even in the event of a future divorce.
Contact Our Fort Worth, TX Family Lawyers Today
At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth family law attorney has extensive experience handling prenuptial agreement and postnuptial agreement cases. If you have any questions about the legal requirements for a prenup in Texas, we are here to help. Contact us now to set up your fully confidential initial appointment with a lawyer. Our law firm handles prenup issues in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and all across North Texas.