You're in love. You're ready to spend the rest of your life with the man or woman of your dreams, but you also know the terrible divorce rate in the U.S. and you'd sure hate to be in the category of the 49-51% of couples who end up divorced. The statistics, unfortunately, are simply not on your side. As unromantic as it may be, divorce is an incredibly common occurrence, and if you have property or children from a previous relationship, it is a good idea to consider a premarital agreement.
Texas is one of nine community property states. The one thing you need to remember about community property is that what you acquire during marriage (whether it's income, equity, or interest) becomes community property or belongs to both you and your spouse 50-50. This means that if you and your beloved call it quits, it is very likely you'll end up with only half of your stuff when the divorce is over. Most people assume this risk and get married anyway. Other people have taken a different route and decided to discuss this issue with their intended before saying “I do.” I strongly recommend the latter tactic. A premarital or prenuptial agreement is a contract that explains what you have decided to do with your property, finances, and debt as a couple during your marriage. It is drafted before the marriage and is binding throughout, unless it is revoked in writing.
Some people enter into a marriage and then decide that for some reason it would be best to partition or separate some of their community property and designate it as separate. Other times they may decide to separate some of their separate property and convert it into community. There are all kinds of reasons that couples decide to do this, but usually there are tax implications underlying these decisions. In this case, the couple contacts a lawyer who recommends a postmarital or postnuptial agreement. It has the same effect as a prenuptial agreement, but it is drafted during the marriage rather than before.
If you are considering marriage or are currently married and want to know more about community property laws and how they affect many aspects of a marital relationship, please contact this office. We'd be happy to discuss your rights and answer your questions.