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Common Clauses in Prenuptial Agreements

Dallas Lawyers Assisting People in Family-Law Matters

People generally enter into marriages with the expectation that they will last forever. The reality is, however, that many marriages end in divorce. Divorce actions can devolve into contentious disputes over the division of assets, but people can avoid protracted litigation by clearly establishing their property rights before they wed. As such, it is prudent for people who intend to marry to consider entering into prenuptial agreements. While each couple’s unique circumstances will dictate what provisions they include, there are common clauses in prenuptial agreements that will benefit most people. If you would like to learn more about the advantages of prenuptial agreements, it is smart to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The capable Dallas family-law attorneys of McClure Law Group can assess your circumstances and assist you in drafting a comprehensive prenuptial agreement that will provide you peace of mind that your interests will be protected in the event your marriage ends.

Clauses Permitted in Prenuptial Agreements

The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) only places two explicit limit on the content of a prenuptial agreement: it cannot adversely affect a child’s right to support and it cannot violate either public policy or criminal law. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who intend to marry. Unlike most contracts, prenuptial agreements do not require the parties to exchange anything of value for the agreement to be valid (referred to as “consideration”). Instead, prenuptial agreements become enforceable once the parties wed as long as they are properly executed, meaning they must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Pursuant to the Code, prenuptial agreements can be used to define property rights and obligations, determine how assets should be divided if an event such as divorce or either party’s death occurs, and to define or modify spousal support obligations, amongst other things. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to create a will or trust and define ownership rights in life insurance benefits.

Common Clauses in Prenuptial Agreements

Parties can include any provisions they like in prenuptial agreements as long as they comply with the parameters of the Code and do not impose a criminal penalty or violate a law or public policy. Although they are tailored to fit each couple’s needs, there are certain terms parties frequently include in their prenuptial agreements.

Common clauses in prenuptial agreements include terms that define separate property. Texas is a community-property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is considered to belong to both parties and is subject to division in divorce actions in a manner that the court deems just and right. Parties can override the general rule, however, by defining certain assets as separate property regardless of when they are acquired or what either party contributes to the asset.

Similarly, prenuptial agreements will often include clauses clarifying what debts each party carries and defining whether debts will remain separate if the couple divorces. People will also typically use prenuptial agreements to define whether either party is entitled to spousal support if they divorce, and if so, in what amount and for what duration.

In addition to terms defining property rights and debt obligations, parties will frequently use prenuptial agreements to determine their individual responsibilities with regard to their income, household expenses, contributions to savings, and investments.

Finally, choice of law provisions are common clauses in prenuptial agreements, as well. In other words, the parties will define what State’s laws dictate how the agreement should be interpreted and enforced. Choice of law provisions are critical because they prevent parties from attempting to seek a more favorable ruling by moving out of state.

Talk to an Experienced Dallas Attorney

Although the precise terms of a pre-marital contract between an engaged couple will vary depending on their circumstances, there are common clauses in prenuptial agreements that most people should include. If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, it is smart to talk to a lawyer about your options. The experienced Dallas attorneys of McClure Law Group dedicate their practice to helping people resolve family-law issues efficiently and discretely, and if you retain our services, we will diligently pursue your desired outcome. Our primary office is located in Dallas, and we can meet clients by appointment at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in family-law matters in Dallas, McKinney, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Frisco, Garland, and Irving. We also aid parties with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Grayson, and Denton Counties. You can reach us by calling us at 214.692.8200 or using our form online to set up a confidential conference.

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