If you want to end up with a clear and binding premarital agreement in Texas, the safest way is to get help from a good lawyer. There are good reasons to hire a lawyer — or actually two lawyers — to do your prenuptial (or premarital) agreement in Texas.

Independent legal advice

Prenups are still scrutinized by the courts closely. Having a lawyer representing each spouse ensures that each spouse will receive independent legal counsel regarding his or her rights under Texas marital property law. The absence of separate lawyers is a big red flag to a judge who is evaluating the fairness and viability of the prenups’ provisions.

Laws vary in different states

One reason to hire a lawyer to draft the premarital agreement (prenup) is that the laws regarding a premarital agreement differ in each state. Of course, you could do the research yourself and educate yourself about Texas’ laws regarding premarital agreements. But, how would you know that your research is thorough and accurate? A lawyer trained in the area of drafting premarital agreements in Texas should already know the laws regarding premarital agreements in Texas. Further, some websites on the internet may not be up to date with changes in the law relating to drafting prenups, where a lawyer should know the latest version of the law that would apply to your situation.

Know contents of prenup

A lawyer experienced in Texas family law should have experience drafting premarital agreements. Such lawyer will know the standard, customary provisions for a prenup, and also he or she can make suggestions for creative provisions that might apply to your individual situation.

Know the formalities

A prenup can be challenged on the grounds of voluntariness or duress. An experienced lawyer will be able to use procedural formalities to give the premarital agreement the best chance of being upheld. For example, the signing of the premarital agreement could be videotaped or transcribed by a court reporter to preserve the demeanor of the parties and tenor of the conversation when the signing occurs.

Find a good lawyer

Find a lawyer experienced in Texas family law to assist in drafting your premarital agreement. An attorney board certified in Texas family law will have a minimum level of experience, knowledge, and peer evaluation. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is the certifying agency for Texas lawyer who wish to demonstrate to clients their proficiency in Texas family law.

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.