When two people in Texas marry or even move in together, they might want to consider a prenuptial agreement or a cohabitation agreement. However, it is important that they discuss this agreement and how it can mutually benefit both of them. They should also both have legal counsel. A person who is simply presented an agreement drawn up by the other person’s attorney may be looking at a boilerplate agreement that does not allow any concessions.
This was the case for one woman whose boyfriend gave her a cohabitation agreement that said if they married, state spousal support laws would not apply. It also said that regardless of how much money she put into the house that he had purchased with the assistance of his mother, she would not be entitled to any financial compensation. A better way to approach this conversation would have been for them to sit down and review their finances and discuss what would be best for both of them.
In this particular case, one approach might have been to give the woman a certain percentage of equity in the home for each year of marriage. Some prenups include a sunset clause. This means that after a certain number of years, its provisions will expire and regular state laws about property division in a divorce apply.
In Texas, those laws state that shared property is supposed to be divided equally in a divorce. This might include income, the amount a home or other property has appreciated in value and even a business. While this may seem fair to some couples, others may want to address specific issues in a prenup, such as what happens to a business or shared home. Couples who do not have a prenup still have the option of negotiating an agreement instead of going to court.