Fabio & Merrill

My partner wants a prenup. Do I have to sign it?

Many people associate a prenuptial agreement with divorce, and if your future spouse brings up the topic before your Texas wedding, it could leave you feeling anxious. However, your partner is not necessarily planning to split up; a prenup is good financial planning, and it can benefit you just as much.

As the Texas Bar Journal points out, Texas is a community property state. That means everything you and your spouse acquire from your first moments as a married couple belongs to both of you. The car that you purchase from your own bank account? That belongs to your spouse, too, and so do the contents of your bank account. It goes both ways, of course. Your spouse's assets are also yours. However, there are very few assets that are exempt from division in a divorce.

Divorce is not the only topic you can address in the prenup, though. Say your future spouse has a problem with debt. You would like to help out, but you are not willing to continually pay off his or her credit cards. You may be able to include a clause in the agreement stating that any purchases your spouse makes on personal credit cards that are not used to benefit the marriage will not become your responsibility. 

The prenup can also include information about alimony. For example, it could say that if one spouse cheats, he or she cannot receive alimony, regardless of whether the circumstances would otherwise warrant it. Alternately, you could include a clause that says you are willing to put your career in second place behind your spouse's, and he or she will pay alimony to make up for your missed opportunities if you divorce.

If you still do not feel comfortable signing, you do not have to. In fact, if your wedding date is near and your future spouse is trying to rush you into signing, that undue pressure could invalidate the agreement if you need to challenge it someday. The contract would also be invalid if one of you is not honest about your assets and liabilities, or if you do not each have your own lawyer review it before signing. Every situation is different, and many factors could affect whether the agreement can be challenged, so this general information should not take the advice of an attorney.

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