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Can you enforce a postnuptial agreement in court?

| Jan 18, 2021 | Divorce |

A prenuptial agreement allows a couple to set up a divorce agreement concerning their assets before they get married. High-net-worth individuals and those who’ve previously been married may find a prenuptial agreement especially beneficial. In some instances, a couple may marry without a prenuptial agreement and then negotiate a postnuptial one amidst new financial concerns. Here’s some information about how these agreements are enforced in Texas.

Postnuptial agreement purposes and concerns

A postnuptial agreement, like a prenuptial one, is a contractual arrangement between spouses. Circumstances may change during a marriage, such as one spouse unexpectedly inheriting a large sum of money or discovering that the other spouse no longer contributes much to property ownership costs.

A spouse concerned about how divorce may impact a business might lead him or her to negotiate a postnuptial agreement. An appropriate agreement could keep a business on solid footing, which, in turn, may financially support pre-established alimony payment amounts.

In some ways, taking steps to devise a postnuptial agreement helps with financial planning. Individuals with a high net worth may worry about maintaining and managing their wealth, and pre-arranging divorce terms might assist that process.

Legal concerns and issues regarding a postnuptial agreement

Postnuptial agreements are contracts, so rules about fraud, misrepresentation or coercion apply. Threatening someone with harm to compel signing an agreement may lead to it being deemed a worthless document.

Working with an attorney to establish a binding contract may prove wise in many circumstances. However, both parties to the prenuptial agreement need to consider how enforceable the arrangement is. For example, a contract with a “sunset clause” cannot be enforced after the specified time. If the agreement leaves sole ownership of a business to one spouse if the couple divorces in five years, trying to enforce that clause after eight years might be impossible.

Certain things unenforceable under the law. Child custody, for example, should be excluded from postnuptial agreements. An agreement that no one signed could be dubious at best.

Legally sound postnuptial agreements may be binding under the law during divorce proceedings, and the particulars of Texas state law factor into a specific document’s enforceability. Working with an attorney to devise a postnuptial agreement may be worthwhile for all parties.