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Understanding Post-Marital Agreements

A post-marital agreement, often referred to as a postnuptial agreement, is a document that you and your spouse execute after you are already married. It allows you to deal with significant financial matters regarding the marriage, including how property will be divided in a divorce, how debts will be separated, and it addresses issues with income. It may even set out specific matters regarding alimony as well. It can cover both divorce situations and circumstances where the spouse passes away unexpectedly or becomes incapacitated.

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The Difference Between a Post-Marital Agreement and a Prenuptial Agreement

Most people are more familiar with prenuptial agreements instead of postnuptial agreements. A premarital agreement is entered into before the marriage is finalized. It only becomes effective once the couple is legally married. A post-marital agreement is used by spouses who are already married. It becomes “active” as soon as it is executed. However, the two documents address many of the same issues and concerns.

Marital Agreements and Community Property

In Texas, all property that is acquired during the marriage is considered community property. That means that in the event of a divorce, the property is divided equally between the two parties. This is the case unless the court determines that there is some other reason that an equal division would not be appropriate.

In circumstances where the couple has already decided how to divide their assets and liabilities, the agreement will trump the presumption of equal division of property. Of course, however, if the agreement is invalid or unfair for some reason, the court may step in to alter the agreement or void it entirely. Typically, a spouse must raise these issues to bring them to the court’s attention.

Why Would You Want a Post-Marital Agreement?

Some individuals come into the marriage with significant assets or property that have special meaning to them. They do not want a divorce to affect their ownership of these assets. For example, a post-marital agreement might be a good idea in the following situations.

  • To protect children from prior marriages
  • One spouse has a significant debt load that he or she does not want to push off onto the other spouseTo ensure that a family business stays in the family

It may also be a good idea for any troubled marriage that may be headed toward divorce. Dealing with financial issues early can make the divorce process run much more smoothly down the road.

If you feel that a postnuptial agreement may be a good option for you, speak with the team at Goldsberry & Associates. We can help you create an agreement that will work for your situation and will be legally binding down the road. Call today for more information.

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