Property Agreements

Property agreements include premarital agreements, post-marital agreements, agreements to convert, and co-habitation agreements.

A premarital agreement is one made between prospective spouses in contemplation of marriage to be effective on marriage.  Key points regarding premarital agreements are:

  • A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by the parties.
  • Among other things, a premarital agreement may address the rights and obligations of the parties in property they own, property they will acquire in the future, and the disposition of property on death or divorce.
  • A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought can prove certain statutory defenses.

A post-marital agreement is one made between spouses, and it allows a married couple to create rules to govern their property that are different than the rules in the Texas Family Code.  Key points regarding post-marital agreements are:

  • A post-marital agreement must be in writing and signed by the parties.
  • A post-marital agreement allows spouses to change community property to separate property and/or allows spouses to agree that income or property arising from separate property owned by one of them shall remain separate property.
  • A post-marital agreement may also address the rights and obligations of the parties in property they own and the disposition of property on death or divorce.
  • A post-marital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought can prove certain statutory defenses.

Newer to Texas is the agreement to convert a spouse’s separate property to community property.  To be enforceable, an agreement to convert must:

  • Be in writing and signed by the parties;
  • Identify the property being converted; and,
  • Specify that the property being converted is the spouses’ community property.

The Texas Family Code does not provide for non-marital cohabitation agreements.  A non-Family Code statute states that a non-marital conjugal cohabitation agreement is not enforceable unless the agreement is in writing and signed by the person to be charged with the agreement.  In some instances, it may make sense for persons who are cohabitating to enter into a formal contract.