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What is a pre-marital agreement and is it always enforceable?

Whether they have great wealth or not, a great many people who get married in Texas seek to have a pre-marital agreement. This is for asset protection, property division and for many other reasons in the event that the union does not work out. However, those who are signing a pre-marital agreement need to understand what can be in the agreement itself and under what circumstances it can be voided and unenforceable.

When a couple forms a pre-marital agreement, it can relate to the following: the rights and obligations of the participants in any property of either or both no matter when or where it was acquired or located; the right to purchase, sell, utilize, transfer, exchange, lease, dispose of, consume or assign the property; the disposition of property when there is a separation, dissolution of the marriage, death, or if some other event were or were not to happen; the modifying or eliminating of spousal support; the formulation of a will, trust or other agreement; the ownership rights and disposition of the benefits from a life insurance policy; the choice of the law that governs how the agreement is constructed; and any matter that does not violate the law.

There are circumstances in which the agreement will not be enforceable. This is the case if the party did not agree to the pre-marital contract willingly. It is also voidable if the agreement was unfair when it was signed and the person signing either did not have a full and complete disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party; did not sign a waiver allowing the absence of disclosure; and did not have or could not have had fair knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other person. The court will decide whether or not an agreement was unfair.

There are a number of reasons why a person would seek to have a pre-marital agreement before marrying. Regardless of those reasons, those who are seeking to have the agreement and the person who is asked to sign it will have rights before and after it is signed. With any prenuptial agreement, it is imperative to have a full grasp of how the law views these situations and an experienced legal professional can help.

Source: statutes.legis.state.tx.us, "Chapter 4. Premarital and Marital Property Agreements -- Sec. 4.003. Content; Sec. 4.006. Enforcement," accessed on Dec. 22, 2015

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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