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Houston Divorce Law Blog

Postnuptial agreements: It's never too late for a prenup

It's generally well-known that "hindsight is 20/20." If most of us could return to certain points in the past, we'd likely do things differently and make alternate decisions. Most of the time, however, it's simply too late and the chance has passed. When it comes to marriage, though, there are some marital contract-related decisions that can be made after wedding bells have rung.

A misconception many Houston couples are likely to have about prenuptial agreements is that they can only be made before the wedding. While this is technically true, already-married couples can still create valid marital contracts, known as postnuptial agreements, in the state of Texas.

Spouses must be careful to account for all assets in divorce

Overlooking assets in a Texas divorce can become a big problem. It may seem surprising, but many couples simply forget to account for all of their assets when going through a split.

When many parties to a divorce start to ponder protecting assets, they understandably tend to first think about the most obvious pieces of marital property. These usually include the family home, vehicles, any big purchases the former couple made together, vacation property or recreational vehicles and maybe even the family pet. After considering these tangible items, they will then usually look to financial matters, such as investments, business assets and bank accounts.

Attorneys play crucial role in Texas collaborative divorce

Many divorcing spouses in Houston are aware that the option for alternative dispute resolution exists. Still, there are many misconceptions about procedures like divorce mediation and collaborative law. Many don't realize that in a collaborative divorce, the parties still rely on the knowledge and skill of an attorney, albeit in different ways than in a traditional divorce.

The part played by an attorney during a collaborative divorce is an essential one. Collaborative law in Texas allows parties to a divorce to have open yet structured conversations about the outcome of their split. These negotiations can cover topics such as property division and how the family will handle parenting after the divorce. Since divorce is often an emotionally-heated topic, it helps to have the negotiations be guided by specially trained attorneys who understand the need for objectivity and professionalism.

What legal issues can be covered during divorce mediation?

For any Houston-area family to successfully reshape itself after divorce, countless issues must be resolved during the divorce itself. A family can't move on until subjects such as child custody, property division and child support have been properly decided. Even seemingly minor topics, such as the ways in which children spend the holidays with each parent after a split, can incite conflict later on if not addressed during the divorce proceedings.

What many divorcing couples in Texas may not realize is that divorce mediation can cover a wide array of topics related to their own unique situations. Since the objective of mediation is to reach a mutually agreed-upon conclusion concerning a particular issue, many of the common causes of divorce conflict can be brought up and discussed openly and productively. Mediation can address some of the most pressing financial matters in a divorce, including property division, child support and spousal support. All three of these subjects can be confusing enough without experienced legal help, but each issue also can impact one another. Trained mediators can inform spouses of the effects that one decision might have on another and help ensure that the overall settlement is equitable.

Billionaire's children now have lawyer in divorce case

Last week, it was noted that the presence of an experienced attorney can help keep a high asset divorce on-track. Interestingly, it seems that the two members of a marriage are not the only ones who may benefit from having a lawyer in the event of a divorce.

The Houston area is known for its forward-thinking economy and lucrative energy sector; as a result, it's not surprising that when a high asset divorce occurs, it often highlights multiple legal issues. In the realm of property division alone there are countless considerations: who will retain what role in the business, the effects of the split on each party's career, what becomes of gifts and inheritances and so on. The financial ramifications of the end of a marriage can impact not only each party but also the entire family. Child custody can feature emotional as well as financial elements, and even if each party agrees to joint custody there can be unresolved issues on both sides.

Skilled counsel keeps a high asset divorce under control

There is much at stake in any divorce, but a high asset divorce is a financially-complex situation that can easily veer out-of-control. Residents of Houston have likely seen the countless headlines spawned by the types of splits that affect celebrities, businesspersons and the like: disputed, heated and sometimes dragging-on forever. In a high asset divorce, it's especially important to secure trusted counsel from the get-go so that matters stay focused on a fair conclusion.

One of the first ways in which representation in a high asset divorce is invaluable is through comprehensive treatment of each party's finances. Couples who earned a high income or owned lucrative assets can inadvertently overlook the many details that can affect property division. Without an attorney by one's side from the beginning, a spouse can easily forget crucial elements that will only need to be dealt with later.

Bringing up the benefits of prenuptials to a future spouse

The process of bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement is never an easy one, even if both engaged partners share the same views on how to proceed with the matter. In Texas, a prenuptial agreement can cover many different topics. Thus, it may be difficult to determine if such an agreement is right for a couple and, if so, what it needs to include.

One of the primary purposes of a prenuptial agreement is to protect each spouse's property interests in the event of divorce. Since the prospect of divorce is rarely, if ever, on the minds of engaged couples, it can be especially tough to mention the benefits of a prenuptial agreement to a future spouse. Still, the perks are substantial. A prenuptial agreement can prevent the possibility of drawn-out divorce battles down the road regarding property division. A couple can accumulate significant property during a marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, precious assets can be fought-over in court - a process that can be costly as well as time-consuming.

How spouses find 'fault' with their ex in Texas

When two people get divorced in Texas, both spouses generally have their own idea regarding whose fault the breakup was. In some cases, though, spouses can agree on where the fault lies in a divorce, whether it is with one spouse, both spouses or no one at all. Other times, fault in a divorce is contested, with each party claiming the other was at fault. What many don't realize is that fault may be related later on to property division and each spouse's propensity for protecting assets.

The divorce process often begins by one spouse officially filing for divorce. In general, at least one ground for divorce must be named; this is often "insupportability of the marriage." A marriage is generally no longer supportable when there is excessive discord between partners, unsustainable incompatibility and no realistic hope that reconciliation will take place. This ground can also be claimed if spouses have been living separately for three or more years.

How does 'equal' differ from 'equitable' in a Texas divorce?

Dividing property in Texas is usually not among the simpler things spouses must do during divorce. Texas functions under the community property system of dividing property, which is a system misunderstood by many. In the process of dividing marital property from separate property, and then dividing the marital property itself, Texas strives for an equitable division of assets. However, Texas is not an "equitable distribution" state, the way most of the states in the country are; Texas is a community property state. As a result, there can be much confusion over how assets are divided in the state.

Some may believe that, like the state of California for instance, Texas aims for an equal split of marital property. In other words, each spouse may receive half of the house, half of joint back accounts and so on. While this is a simplified scenario even for states that use such a system, in Texas matters can be much more complex. In a state like Texas, it's possible to have a technically uneven distribution of assets that is still found to be equitable.

Former NFL star's Dallas home at center of high asset divorce

The divorce legal issues of high-earning individuals are notoriously complex; for those who hold multiple properties they can be especially tough to navigate. Former NFL star and pro athlete Deion Sanders is still weaving his way through a high asset divorce with his ex-wife. At the conclusion of a high asset divorce settlement, as Sanders has discovered, there are severe consequences that come with not properly following a judge's orders.

As part of his divorce, Sanders had been ordered by a judge to pay the legal fees of his ex. The fees were quite steep, totaling more than $275,000. Sanders did not comply with the order and as a consequence, a judge put a lien on Sanders' Texas home, a $21 million property located in Dallas. Sanders is also reportedly coping with the closing of a charter school he had co-founded.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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