Many people who come to me for help as a prenup lawyer have been through a difficult divorce in the past. Divorces in Austin can be particularly complex and expensive. This is because Texas is one of only a few “community property” states.
Community property is divided between spouses in a divorce. Separate property is not divided; the spouse who owns it keeps it. Texas law presumes that all of your property is community property, which gets divided in a divorce. Unless you prove that property is your separate property, it is also divided in a Texas divorce.
Safeguard Your Retirement
For example, you may have started a 401(k) with an employer before marriage. Years of marriage later, that 401(k) has been rolled over into an IRA, which has increased significantly in value. Under Texas community property law, a portion of the IRA is your separate property and a portion is community property. Unless you can trace the money over time directly from the 401(k) before marriage to the current IRA, however, the entire IRA will be considered community property and divided. It’s time consuming and expensive to prove what is community property and what is separate property in a divorce. Expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants, are often required.
A prenuptial agreement solves this problem. First, a prenup defines which property is considered community property and which property is separate. You and your fiancé decide; not the State of Texas. Second, a prenup agreement will list all of the major separate property items you own at the time of marriage. In a divorce case, there’s no need to prove what separate property you own because the prenup does it for you. In this way, a prenuptial agreement can simplify the divorce process, reduce the cost of a divorce case, minimize conflict, and keep you out of court in the event of divorce.
Protect Your Adult Children
A common reason why couples seek prenuptial agreements is to protect the inheritance rights of adult children. If you have children from a previous relationship, getting married in Texas can affect their rights to inherit from you. A prenuptial agreement can solve this problem.
A prenuptial agreement ensures that property you want your adult children to inherit remains your separate property after marriage. It assures that property intended for adult children does not become mixed separate and community property of both you and your spouse. In this way, a prenup agreement protects your rights to pass down property to adult children as you see fit.
A divorce is never planned on, but as those entering a second marriage know all too well it’s best to be prepared. A prenuptial agreement put together by a local Austin attorney experienced in Texas community property laws can safeguard your future and loved ones and put you at ease so you can focus on this exciting new chapter in your life.
If you’re looking for help starting the prenup process, contact Thompson Law to be your trusted guide.