Marital Agreements

Marital Agreement Lawyer in The Woodlands & Surrounding Areas

Marital agreements may be reached, prior to the date of the parties' marriage, or after the marriage has occurred; however, the purpose of those agreements remain the same - to alter by agreement what the parties' marital property rights would be in certain property or to their income on and during their marriage and to determine, in part, the claims each party may lawfully assert against the other party and his or her estate, if and when the marriage is dissolved by judicial act or death. Our Texas Constitution and Family Code outline the rights of married persons, and they set forth the parameters and requirements for persons who choose to alter those marital rights, by agreement.

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The Texas Family Code provides that the parties to a premarital agreement may contract concerning any matter, including personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty and as long as the rights of a child to receive support are not adversely affected.

These rights may include but are not limited to, the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any property whenever or wherever acquired, rights to buy, sell, use, transfer exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property; the rights for disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or non-occurrence of any event; modifying or eliminating spousal support; the making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement; the ownership rights in and disposition of death benefits from life insurance; the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and any other matter not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

At any time during a marriage, the Texas Family Code further authorizes spouses to partition or exchange between themselves all or part of their community property, then existing or to be acquired, as the spouses may desire. Property or property interest transferred to a spouse by a partition and exchange agreement becomes that spouse's separate property. The agreement may also provide that future earnings and income arising from the transferred property shall be the separate property of the owning spouse.

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Protecting your rights to property and your right to effectively transfer or receive property pursuant to a marital agreement requires careful thought and attention to details to create an enforceable agreement that is not contrary to law and that contains all the formalities required by law. These agreements should not be rushed or negotiated under pressure or coercion. Marital agreements may affect only one property or they could include drafting multiple instruments for complex or high net worth estates effectively altering the dynamics of the entire community estate and support of spouses.

Contact Janet L. Spielvogel at Spielvogel & Spielvogel, P.C. to schedule an appointment to discuss options available to you for creating or negotiating marital agreements with your future spouse or spouse and to understand how the decisions you make today will affect your rights to property or income now and in the future.