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Breaking Down the Sanders Divorce: Premarital Agreements in Texas

As discussed in my blogs earlier this week, there have been many rulings in the Deion and Pilar Sanders divorce this month regarding custody of the Sanders three children. Another significant issue was ruled upon this month which is that the couple’s 1999 premarital agreement is valid.

Deion and Pilar married in 1999 and prior to marriage the parties entered into a premarital agreement regarding their assets and debts. According to the Dallas Morning News, the premarital agreement “divides the couple’s property and awards Pilar Sanders $100,000 for each year they were married, with a cap set at $1 million.” During the ongoing divorce, Pilar Sanders has disputed the validity of the document based upon the assertion that there were missing exhibits and pages to the premarital agreement at the time it was signed by the parties. Pilar has also asserted that she was “tricked and defrauded” at the time she signed the 1999 premarital agreement.

Premarital agreements are not uncommon in today’s world. It is a binding contractual agreement entered into by spouses prior to marrying. The purpose of a premarital agreement is to protect a person’s assets that are owned prior to the marriage as well as to make certain financial provisions in case of a divorce.

Generally, Texas family courts recognize prenuptial agreements if the parties:

  • had independent counsel in creating the agreement,
  • were aware of their rights regarding property division under Texas law, especially if they agree to waive such rights,
  • entered into the agreement freely and voluntarily; and
  • were aware of each other’s income, and that full disclosures had been made.

This was not Deion Sanders first marriage. He was previously married to Carolyn Chambers whom he divorced in 1998. Having already been through one divorce, it is not unheard of for a person marrying for a second time to have a premarital agreement before entering into the second marriage.

The Judge’s ruling last week that the Sanders premarital agreement is valid is significant as the premarital agreement likely addresses and disposes of all property issues in the Sanders divorce.