Texas Divorce Laws

How Much is a Prenup in Texas?

By:
Sophia Merton
Updated
April 19, 2022

If you’re thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement before you get married, you’re probably wondering how much it costs to put together a legally enforceable contract. If you’re about to tie the knot in the Lone Star State, you might be wondering: how much is a prenup in Texas?

Basically, it depends on a lot of different factors. In some instances, it can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. However, on the other end of the spectrum, it can cost several thousand dollars.

When the idea of a prenup comes up before you get married, many couples worry that it indicates that they aren’t confident that the relationship will work out. In reality, though, prenups can be a useful tool in planning out your financial future as a married couple.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about prenups in Texas to help you and your soon-to-be-spouse make a decision that is right for you.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

wedding rings for couple getting prenup

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who intend to get married.

A prenuptial agreement commonly referred to as a “prenup,” is a legal contract between two people who intend to get married. You might also hear these agreements referred to as antenuptial agreements or premarital agreements. This contract is drawn up in order to outline issues such as the division of property, which can include buildings, land, cars, retirement accounts, and other assets. Contrary to popular belief, though, prenups don't just deal with what happens in the case of a divorce and can be a part of smart financial life planning.

The finalization of a prenup can occur before the couple gets married. Once the two parties are legally married, the prenup becomes effective.

Should You Get a Prenup in Texas?

assets in a prenup in texas

Prenups can make sense in a number of circumstances, including if one or both parties are bringing significant assets into the marriage.

Not everyone who is planning to get married will necessarily benefit from a prenuptial agreement. However, there are a number of reasons why this might be a good idea, depending on your circumstances.

Before we get into the reasons you might want to get a prenup, you’ll want to understand that Texas is a community property state. A community property state asserts that all property and assets that are acquired by either party during a marriage belong jointly to both spouses. In general, any assets that are brought to the marriage by one partner that was acquired before the marriage are considered separate property. However, that isn’t the case if the assets are commingled.

Some reasons that you might want to think about getting a prenup in Texas include:

  • If either party has loans or debt in your names
  • If either party owns significant assets, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, or bank accounts
  • If either party owes spousal or child support from a previous marriage
  • If either spouse has children
  • If either spouse is remarrying
  • If either spouse is interested in securing their estates
  • If there is a large discrepancy in terms of how much wealth each party is bringing to the marriage

If you are trying to determine whether or not a prenup would be worth it before you get married, it might be a good idea to talk to an attorney. They will be able to give you specific advice related to your particular circumstances.

Prenups can also help to clear up a number of questions about how money is handled in the marriage. Finances can cause a lot of stress in a marriage, so outlining how you will deal with this aspect of life ahead of time can help to avoid problems down the road.

For example, a prenup can discuss how you and your spouse will handle assets that you accumulate together. It can also outline whether you will maintain separate bank accounts, a joint bank account, or both.

What Are the Benefits of a Prenup in Texas?

There is a cultural concept of prenups as being a sign that both parties don’t believe that the marriage will last or that one of the involved parties is only marrying the other because of their financial situation. This really doesn’t have to be the case, though, and many people choose to get a prenuptial agreement as a part of a smart financial plan that can offer protection to both parties.

Some of the benefits that might compel you to pursue a prenup in Texas include:

  • Protecting the property of each party
  • Protecting each party from the debts of the other spouse
  • Avoiding potentially high legal costs in order to determine spousal support settlement or property division
  • Providing for loved ones and children from either the upcoming marriage or a previous marriage
  • Preparing for the death of one spouse
  • Preempting potential disputes in the future
  • Protecting family assets or a family business

In some instances, you might find that having a prenup can help to provide peace of mind. When you know that your best interests and your assets are protected and you know that you both agree to the terms you’ve outlined, it can help put your mind at ease.

Making a prenup doesn’t have to mean that you’re unromantic or that you think that the marriage will fail. It can also just be a way to prepare for future challenges that are unforeseen.

Prenups also don’t just have to deal with what happens in the case of divorce. It can also outline how decisions will be made regarding selling property or other financial concerns that could very likely crop up during a marriage.

Lastly, even talking to a partner about the possibility of a prenup can open the door to talk about other long-term plans. These might include creating savings plans or trusts.

How Much Is a Prenup in Texas?

There are a number of different factors that can impact how much prenups cost in Texas. In general, you can expect the cost to be somewhere between $500 and $10,000, with the higher range being for situations that are more complicated. The average cost in the state of Texas is $1,200.

Obviously, this is a pretty huge range. What are the factors that can influence how much it costs to get a prenup in Texas? Some of them include:

  • Your location in Texas
  • How many assets and debts each party has
  • Whether there are prolonged negotiations
  • The attorney you choose

When you have more complicated assets and liabilities as a soon-to-be-married couple, it will influence how long it takes a lawyer to create an agreement. For this reason, the more complex your finances are, the more you can expect to pay for a prenup.

Similarly, you might be motivated to seek out a lawyer with an excellent reputation if you are dealing with a complicated financial situation. Sought-after attorneys will typically charge more, which can also increase the cost of getting a prenup in Texas.

If the negotiations are contentious, you can also expect the process to last longer and cost more money.

It’s also worth noting that some couples choose to get a prenuptial agreement as a part of an estate planning package. On average, the cost of going this route is $1,500.

Are you wondering how much it costs to get divorced in Texas? If so, check out this article.

What Fees Should You Expect to Pay When You Get a Prenup in Texas?

As discussed above, how much it costs to get a prenup in Texas can vary greatly. However, if you and your partner have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for before you put it in writing with the help of a lawyer, you can save quite a bit of money. Of course, this might not be possible in your situation if you or your partner is bringing significant assets or an otherwise complicated financial situation to the marriage.

Some of the services that you might be charged fees for when making a prenup include:

  • A consultation with an attorney
  • Collecting a list of the assets that belong to each party
  • Drafting financial disclosure waivers
  • Both the drafted and finalized versions of the prenup
  • Copies of the final agreement
  • A letter that describes how to go about recording the documents

It’s a good idea to ask a prospective attorney about the costs you can expect to incur when getting a prenup. They will be able to give you an idea of what services your circumstance will require and about how much it will cost.

When Is the Right Time to Create a Prenup?

The ideal time to begin the process of getting a prenup is a few months before you intend to get married. This way, there is ample time to come to an agreement on all matters. The more complicated your finances, the sooner you will want to begin the process.

What Issues Can Be Dealt With in a Texas Prenup?

A number of different issues can be dealt with in Texas prenuptial agreements. You might find that you choose to include some or all of the following issues:

  • Each spouse’s obligations and rights regarding property
  • Rights to alimony
  • Each spouse’s rights when it comes to managing or controlling property
  • How personal or real property will be allocated if the parties separate, divorce, or if one spouse dies
  • The rights to a life insurance policy death benefit
  • The making of arrangements to facilitate what is outlined in the prenuptial agreement such as a will or a trust
  • Any other matter that isn’t in violation of the State of Texas’s criminal laws or public policy

(Curious to learn how long a divorce typically takes in Texas? If so, you can learn more here.)

Can Alimony, Child Custody, or Child Support Be Determined By a Prenup in Texas?

father with custody of children in texas

Issues like child custody and child support cannot be included in a Texas prenup.

The State of Texas does not allow prenuptial agreements to limit how much child support one spouse might owe if they were to get divorced or separated. This is because, in Texas, the right to child support is understood to belong to the child rather than the parents.

Child support can be awarded by a judge based on what is considered fair and reasonable. This means that the judge’s decision can overrule any agreements that parents outlined in a prenup.

Additionally, child custody cannot be determined in advance through the use of a prenup. Child custody is exclusively decided by family law courts if it comes to that. In a family law court, what your prenup says will not be considered by a judge when it comes to making decisions regarding child custody and support.

The Texas statutes do, however, state that alimony can be determined in a prenup. Each party can elect to waive alimony, agree to a specific level of support, agree to adjustments based on the cost of living, and any other issue that impacts alimony. In these cases, family law courts will uphold what is agreed upon within a premarital agreement.

Is a Prenup Enforceable in Texas?

In order for your prenup to be enforceable in court, it will need to meet the requirements of Texas state law. According to Texas state law, prenuptial agreements are enforceable if:

  • Both parties signed the contract in advance of the marriage
  • The agreement is in writing rather than an oral contract
  • There was no requirement for the prenup to be supported by “consideration,” meaning that something of value was given from one spouse to the other as a gesture showing their support for the contract
  • Both parties signed the contract voluntarily (as opposed to under duress or coercion)
  • The terms of the agreement don’t create severe hardship for either party
  • The financial and property obligations of both parties are fully disclosed in the agreement unless one of the parties has, in writing, waived their right to disclosure
  • Both parties created and executed the agreement “in contemplation of marriage,” meaning that they had a view toward upcoming and definite marriage when they negotiated and signed the prenup

If your contract fulfills these requirements, it should be enforceable under Texas State law.

Texas is one of the twenty-eight states that have adopted what is known as the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). This is a Uniform Act that was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1983.

Is It Possible to Change or Terminate a Prenup in Texas?

two people changing a prenup in texas

It is possible to either change or terminate a prenup down the road if your circumstances or agreements have changed.

You can modify or terminate a prenuptial agreement when you are married if you choose to. In order to do this, you will need to enter into a written subsequent agreement that either makes changes or invalidates the initial agreement. When a couple modifies their prenup, it is known as a postnuptial agreement.

What Happens If You Don’t Create Your Prenup Correctly?

You might be tempted to try and DIY your prenup in order to save money, but it’s important to understand the potential consequences of incorrectly creating a prenup. If your prenup contains unfair provisions or doesn’t comply with state law, your prenup will be invalidated by Texas courts. Of course, when you create a prenup in the first place, the goal is to ensure that it will hold up in court if you ever end up there.

Some of the reasons that a prenup might be invalidated by the court include:

  • The agreement isn’t signed by either you or your spouse
  • The agreement is not in writing
  • One party signed the agreement under pressure, duress, or coercion
  • One party created the agreement without fully disclosing everything beforehand
  • One party wasn’t given a reasonable amount of time to look over and read the agreement before they signed
  • The agreement wasn’t executed before legal marriage occurred
  • There are invalid or illegal provisions in the agreement, including child support obligations
  • One party didn’t have independent legal representation when the agreement was both drafted and signed
  • The agreement is unconscionable, meaning that it is so unfair that one party would face severe financial difficulties if the court were to uphold it

As you can see, it’s important to avoid this type of misstep. Otherwise, you might think that you have a valid prenuptial agreement, only to find that it doesn’t hold up in court when it matters most.

The terms of a prenup can be overridden by Texas state law if it is found that your prenup is unenforceable in court or invalidated.

So... How Much is a Prenup in Texas?

Creating a prenup doesn’t have to mean that you think your marriage is doomed to fail. There are a lot of compelling reasons why a prenuptial agreement might be right in your situation. For instance, by agreeing to how financial decisions will be made in the future, prenups can actually help to reduce or eliminate future disagreements about money. In this regard, a prenup might protect you from the prospect of divorce, rather than indicate that dissolving the marriage is all but certain.

When you’re getting married in Texas, understanding the state laws can help you protect yourself and your family. For more information about divorce, prenups, and marriage in Texas, check out TexasDivorceLaws.org.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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