Texas Marriage Specifications

Howdy! So ya’ll are fixin’ to get your corn-fed prenuptial agreement all git-out come hell or high water. Bless your heart! Only problem? You don’t want to be “all hat, no cattle” and forget something crucial. Below we have listed the major statutes and phrases you’ll need to understand so ya’ll can get back to planning your house party and groom’s cake.

Texas Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is called a “premarital agreement” in Texas and is defined as an agreement between two parties who plan to marry and would like to clarify what should happen to property of the marriage in the event of divorce or separation. Should we call it a “Premup?” (just kidding, kind of.) A premarital agreement in Texas is not effective until the marriage takes place.

What to include in a valid Texas Prenup? 

For a lone star prenup to be considered for enforcement in a Texas courthouse, it must be drafted under specific guidelines that include:

  • A written contract
  • Lawful terms
  • Signatures from both parties (HelloPrenup suggest initially each page!)
  • Signed voluntarily (without being under duress, intimidation, deceit, etc.)
  • Fair and reasonable disclosure of finances

>> For more fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §4


What to exclude from your Texas prenup 

Your prenup could be a risk if you include any of the following provisions:

  • Child custody or child support
  • Excluding the right to counsel
  • Incentive to commit illegal acts
  • Incentive for divorce
  • Unfair, unjust, or deceptive terms
  • Relationship terms (rules for the relationship that are not monetary or involve rights related to property)

By avoiding these areas, you’ll protect your prenup from being considered invalid or void (should you ever need to use it in a court of law).

Terms to understand for a valid Texas Prenup

*Ya’ll! We curated something really special. This prenup encyclopedia simplifies each term so ya’ll can get through any legal phrases without any sweat.👇

Premarital Agreement Statute

What can you include?

In Texas, per the Texas Family Code, and the Texas Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Sec. 4.003, parties to a premarital agreement may include the following in their agreement:

  1. the rights and obligations in property whenever and wherever acquired or located;
  2. the right to control or manage property incl: buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of;
  3. the disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or any other event;
  4. modifying or eliminating spousal support;
  5. the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  6. the choice of law governing this agreement;  and
  7. any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations that are not in violation of public policy or criminal.

***The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.

Please note the above text from the Texas Family Code has been edited for brevity. 

>>For the entire fine print, review Texas Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Sec. 4.003

What could render your Premarital Agreement unenforceable?

Per the Texas Family Code, and the Texas Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Sec. 4.105, if a party seeking to defeat the premarital agreement (the party against whom enforcement is sought) can prove the following, the agreement may be deemed unenforceable in whole or in part: 

(1)  not signed voluntarily;  or

(2)  the agreement was unconscionable when it was signed because that party was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party OR did not waive,their right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations *in writing* and did not have adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

>>For the entire fine print, review Texas Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Sec. 4.105

Community Property

Official term for property “acquired during the marriage”

Texas is one of nine states in the United States that operates under a community property theory. In general, this means that any property acquired during their marriage is equally owned by both spouses.  In addition, Property owned by either spouse during the divorce process or on dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property. Now, this is why you should consider a prenup!

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §3.002w

Separate Property

Per the Texas Family Code, Sec. 3.001, Separate Property is defined as 

  • property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage; 
  • property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent;  and
  • the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §3.001

Spousal Maintenance Statute

Spousal Support Upon Dissolution or Legal Separation

Per the Texas Family Code, Sec. 8.052, the court may consider the following factors in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of support.  

  1. ability to meet minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution
  2. education and employability 
  3. length of the marriage
  4. the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional health
  5. the effect of maintenance on each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s needs while providing child support payments or maintenance, if applicable
  6. acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property
  7. the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse
  8. property brought into the marriage
  9. non-monetary contributions to the marriage 
  10. marital misconduct
  11. history or pattern of family violence (defined here: 71.004)

It’s crucial to understand that there are many different circumstances that can come into play if a Texan couple decides to divorce without a prenup. By clarifying maintenance in your prenup prior to divorce or separation, you and yours can prevent a court from defaulting to guidelines to make judgments on your behalfs.

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §8

Asset / Debt Statute

General Provisions for “award of marital property”

Texas is one of the only nine states in the country that is considered a “community property” state. This generally means that any property that is acquired by either both or one of the parties of the marriage is considered “community” or “martial” property (unless otherwise stated in a prenuptial agreement). 

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §7

Divorce Statute:

Official term used to refer to “grounds for divorce”

Getting a “dissolution of marriage” (also referred to simply as a “divorce”) calls for “grounds for divorce” without either party having to provide any reason as to why either party should want to end the marriage or legally separate.

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §6(A)

Texas “Grounds for Annulment”

There are many different reasons why a Texan couple would look for an annulment. To make sure that you are familiar, browse through the entire list here.

>>For the entire fine print, review Citation: TX Fam Code §6(B)

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