Types of Marital Agreements

Types of Marital AgreementsTypes of Marital Agreements – There can be negative and persistent thoughts involved in bringing a marital agreement of any kind into a relationship, especially if the idea for it wasn’t conceived by both spouses.

Why doesn’t my future spouse trust me?

Is this fair to me and/or our future children?

What ever happened to, until death do us part?

These are all logical questions, and truth be told, marital agreements are not for everyone. BUT, given all the blog topics we have written in recent months on characterizing marital property and various property management rights, they can provide some benefits.

The purpose of most marital agreements is twofold:

  1. Current or prospective spouses can alter their marital-property rights without judicial action.
  2. Current or prospective spouses can specifically define their rights and obligations toward each other.

Believe it or not, current or prospective spouses can agree to anything from the division of household responsibilities, the payment of support and living expenses, how they share child-rearing, and what religion their children will be taught, to how they will resolve conflicts and the disposition of their property should the relationship unfortunately come to an end.

When most people think of marital agreements, they think of premarital (prenup) agreements. There are several more, however, so let’s discuss.

Premarital Agreement – An agreement between future spouses defining rights and obligations. It becomes effective the day they are married. Some of the reasons for a prenup are to preserve family fortunes for children from an earlier marriage and to eliminate or limit future alimony obligations. Others can be:

*Predetermine rights and duties likes child care, housework, career sacrifices, et cetera.

*Determine which property belongs to each spouse and who has management rights.

*To clarify how taxes will be filed and who will be responsible for income-tax liability.

Postmarital Agreement – An agreement entered into during marriage. There are two types.

*Partition/exchange agreements: Spouses can change the characterization of marital property, oftentimes to convert their interest in community property into separate property.

*Conversion agreements: Spouses can convert separate property into community property. Reasons why spouses would do this could be for estate planning purposes or tax-planning benefits.

Cohabitation Agreements – These are generally entered into by people who do not want to get married or who cannot get married legally but wish to live together. This agreement enables these couples to define their rights and obligations toward each other.

Agreement in consideration of marriage – Premarital agreements take effect immediately and can be enforced even if the marriage never takes place. This type of agreement is slightly different in that it must be in writing, signed by the person obligated to the agreement, and made in consideration of marriage.

Separation Agreements – Under common law, spouses can enter into separation agreements to specify their rights and duties while living apart but not divorced. Separation agreements are important because a “legal separation” is not recognized in Texas.

Right-of-survivorship Agreements – At any time during marriage, spouses can agree that all or part of their community property becomes the property of the surviving spouse upon death. This agreement converts a decedent’s spouse’s community property into the surviving spouse’s separate property.

There’s a lot more to be said on how each of these agreements should be drafted and what rules need to be followed to make them legally binding. When considering any agreement, please consult with our knowledgeable staff at Nelson Law Group, PC. We will keep your best interests in mind.