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Negotiating a divorce, even when times are good

Monday, July 16, 2018

Prenuptial agreements, made before marriage, are common in Texas. They can help resolve complex disputes if the marriage ever ends. Couples who never executed these contracts, however, can enter postnuptial agreements that can act as a divorce "insurance policy" that is hopefully never used, and which can set forth future expectations.

A postnuptial agreement may be especially helpful in certain circumstances. If a parent has a child outside the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can contain set forth each parent's responsibilities. This agreement may also set forth a parenting plan for children from the marriage and outside the marriage, and address parenting and visitation issues.

A postnuptial agreement may also set forth a property division plan that could prevent serious fights at the end of a marriage. In a more cordial setting, spouses can set forth who will receive certain property and assume responsibility for specific debts.

A spouse in trouble, such as those who have gambling problems or legal problems, is another important consideration. This agreement can set forth that spouse's responsibilities for these types of issues and help insulate the other spouse.

A prenup or postnup is especially helpful for the spouse who is earning most of the couple's income. It can help protect at least part of these earnings.

A 2015 survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers indicated that these agreements increased over the past three years. However, postnuptial agreements must be fair and reasonable for both parties. Both parties should be transparent and knowledgeable about their agreement. The couple's motive should be placed in these agreements to ensure that the court can resolve validity issues.

Each spouse should also have their own attorney while negotiating and drafting these agreements to ensure that they are fully aware of their options. A lawyer can also help ensure that these agreements are valid and enforceable in Texas.

Source: Women's Health, "What is a postnuptial agreement, and do I need one?" Jessica Migala, Nov. 16, 2017

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