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Modifying Marital-Property Agreements

Dallas Family-Law Attorneys Helping Parties Modify Marital-Property Agreements

Marriage not only formalizes a couple’s relationship, but also alters their rights and obligations with regard to assets and debts. As such, many people take the practical measure of entering into marital-property agreements (e.g., premarital agreements and post-marital agreements) to safeguard their interests or to set ground rules in the case of an eventual divorce. In some cases, though, life changes will render the terms of an agreement unsuitable, and it becomes necessary to alter it to ensure it is sufficient to meet a couple’s ever-changing goals. Revising the provisions of marital-property agreements can have significant legal ramifications, and it is prudent for people interested in modifying marital-property agreements to seek the assistance of an attorney when doing so. The knowledgeable Dallas family-law attorneys of McClure Law Group are proficient at aiding people with the execution and modification of marital-property agreements and navigating other family-law issues, and if you hire us, we will work diligently and zealously on your behalf.

Texas Law Regarding Marital-Property Agreements

Under Texas law, parties can enter into contracts, before or after they marry, that define their duties and rights should the marriage end. Premarital agreements, which couples enter into before they are married, become effective on the date of the marriage. In contrast, post-marital agreements are executed during a marriage and are operative when they are executed. The rules for premarital and post-marital agreements are generally the same in Texas. First, they must be in writing; the courts will not enforce oral marital-property agreements. Additionally, similar to other contracts, they must be signed by both parties. Finally, the parties must enter into the agreements voluntarily, and the agreement generally cannot be unconscionable (although there are exceptions where unconscionable marital-property agreements can still be upheld). If a marital-property agreement is unconscionable, the Texas Family Code (the “Code”) requires a court to still uphold it unless it is entered into without a reasonable and fair disclosure of each party’s assets and liabilities if the parties did not execute a written waiver of the right to disclosure other otherwise have knowledge regarding the other party’s financial status.

Modifying Marital-Property Agreements

Numerous circumstances may arise that prompt parties to seek modifications of their marital-property agreements. For example, a person may start a business or purchase real estate that they want to define as separate property. In some instances, a couple will mutually agree that one party should be granted spousal support if they decide to divorce and will want to modify their marital-property agreement to reflect their wishes. Changes in a person’s employment, income, and health can prompt alterations in marital-property agreements, as well.

Texas law allows for the modification of marital-property agreements. Specifically, they can enter into subsequent contracts that either invalidate or amend the original agreement. Both parties must agree to the modified terms or else the modification is ineffective. While it is not required that parties to a marital-property agreement obtain legal representation, it is prudent for them to each hire their own attorney to make sure they do not inadvertently waive any rights or agree to unfavorable terms. Additionally, if the parties are represented by counsel during the course of modifications, they are less likely to argue that the modifications are invalid if they later choose to divorce. Furthermore, it will often be harder for either party to challenge the marital-property agreement after signing it if they both were represented by legal counsel when it was signed. Otherwise, the parameters for modifying a marital-property agreement are the same as they are for executing marital-property agreements. Specifically, they must be in writing, signed, and must be entered into voluntarily, with full knowledge or disclosure of each party’s property and financial obligations or a waiver of the right to such disclosure.

Meet With an Experienced Dallas Lawyer

A marital-property agreement can help prevent protracted and contentious litigation in the event a couple divorces, but changes in circumstances may necessitate modifications of such agreements. If you are interested in modifying a marital-property agreement, it is wise to contact an attorney promptly. The experienced Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people develop comprehensive marital agreements that help them protect their assets should they divorce. We assist people with family-law matters in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, and Garland. Additionally, we represent parties in family-law cases in Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Collin, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential meeting.

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