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Prenuptial agreement may help avoid disputes in property division

Whenever a Texas couple gets married, the future is a mystery. While many people may focus on their dreams, reality is often far removed. Modern young couples often bring significant assets into a marriage, but even if they don't, they may build up a successful business or receive an inheritance worth a noteworthy amount of dollars during their marriage. Peace of mind may be obtained by a well-drawn-up prenuptial agreement. Texas is a community state property, and if one spouse dies, or the couple decides to get divorced, the court will decide on the property division if there is no valid prenuptial agreement in place.

Many marriages involve the joining of two existing families. In second or third marriages, personal assets of each spouse may be brought into the marriage, and recording each party's individual assets in a prenuptial agreement will ensure the protection of the interests of both parties. According to divorce laws in Texas, all property is presumed community property and will be treated as such during the property division proceedings in a divorce. Unless previously identified in a prenuptial agreement, couples may have no control over the decisions made by the judge.

To prove one spouse's ownership of an asset, that spouse has to provide convincing evidence to support the claim. In cases where marriages are dissolved after many years, that proof may no longer be available, and a premarital agreement may help avoid that problem. Such an agreement can also serve a purpose in the event of one spouse's death. Having all separate property recorded will prevent situations where the executor has to find proof of the decedent's ownership. A prenuptial agreement can also include debts, gifts and inheritances.

Although there may be unanticipated acquisitions or sales of assets during the marriage, such issues can be addressed in a post-nuptial agreement. When drawing up and signing a prenuptial agreement -- or post-nuptial agreement -- Texas law requires each spouse to be represented by an attorney to ensure fairness and legality of the documents. The advice and guidance of experienced divorce attorneys may be invaluable in protecting the interests of both spouses.

Source: allenpub.com, "I Am Getting Married, do I Need Pre-Nuptial Agreements?", Jan. 15, 2015

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