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Houston Divorce Law Blog

Who might consider a postnuptial agreement?

The whole idea of drafting a marriage agreement based on "what if" can be hard for a Texas couple to confront. There are those who argue that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements carry an unavoidable whiff of cynicism because they address what will happen in the event of a divorce. But attorneys experienced in this area of law appreciate that well-drafted agreements are more reflective of a couple's depth of positive feeling for each other than the negative.

Context at the time such agreements are drawn up is always important. In a prenuptial situation, the married-couple-to-be is focused on trying to make clear how the couple will deal with separate and joint finances going forward. In some cases, the process might delay or derail things before vows are ever exchanged. Many would call that a better outcome than entering into a bad marriage.

The right of reimbursement in Texas property division

Individuals considering divorce for the first time may have heard about the different models of property division. In most states, the theory that rules is called equitable distribution. A judge has the power to decide what is fair. The outcome might favor one spouse over the other depending on many variables.

In fewer states, including Texas, the law focuses on what the couple has acquired over the course of the marriage. The entire stock of assets and debts making up the marriage estate is community property and is typically subject to even splitting between the parties. Holdings of the individual spouses are separate estates, but they, too, can be affected in divorce. For the sake of protecting financial interests on all fronts, an attorney's skills should be enlisted.

Is spousal maintenance a realistic option in Texas?

Some women assume they will receive alimony, or spousal maintenance, as part of a divorce settlement. They see it in celebrity cases in which the ex-wife has no need of financial support but goes after it anyway and wins.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most Texas women seeking a divorce. Although a 2011 law improved the guidelines, only wives who are successful in proving the need will obtain spousal maintenance.

ADR: Useful in family law if conditions are right

Alternative dispute resolution – if you are a skeptic, you might be inclined to dismiss this phrase as a euphemism. In the current political environment, it might be easy to take the cynical view and relegate the phrase to a category that might also include alternative facts. But attorneys with breadth of experience in Texas family law likely agree that such views don't do justice to the potential value ADR can deliver.

The history of ADR in the legal realm is still somewhat young. It is being successfully used across a good number of practice areas, including business and landlord-tenant law. The typical forms it takes are mediation or collaborative law. Arbitration is considered an ADR model too, though it has come under something of a cloud recently because of a perception that it can favor the side with the most money.

Reasons to get a business valuation during divorce

If you own a business with your spouse and are getting divorced, you probably need a business valuation. Unless you and your spouse are totally amicable and willing to continue co-owning the business, your other options require determining its value. Here are two main reasons you might need a business valuation during your divorce. 

You want to sell the business

Helpful tips for getting through a high-asset divorce

Common divorce issues include child support, spousal support, community property division and child custody. The issues can become more difficult and complex when high value assets are at stake. Dividing complex property such as joint businesses, savings accounts, executive bonuses, pensions, investments and stocks can be challenging.

If you are getting a divorce and have high-end marital assets, it is crucial to understand your options besides litigation. The nuances involved with complex divorces are sometimes better dealt with through alternate processes.

Do you need a prenuptial agreement to protect your ideas?

Prenuptial agreements (as opposed to antenuptial or "post-marriage") are contracts that couples draft and sign that preemptively allocate how they want to divide their assets. Prenuptial agreements aren't, despite popular belief, an endorsing of the idea that your relationship has a time limit on it. They are useful tools that deal with the reality that sometimes people fall out of love. These contracts ensure that the divorce isn't as messy as it could be.

One type of prenup that is growing in popularity is one designed to protect intellectual property or even ideas. These agreements are increasingly popular among the Millenial generation. Ideas and intellectual property are the assets of the future, and many young people recognize that they need to protect these assets.

Postnuptial agreements continue to gain popularity

Some couples who did not enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage are taking a look at creating the postnuptial variety. Interest has begun to build even for couples who have been together for decades. While it is a relatively new area of law, the postnuptial agreement may be as important in helping to save a marriage as it is in speaking to the division of assets in case of divorce.

Divorce Requirements in Texas

Once you have decided to get out of a bad marriage, it's time to start the actual process of divorce that would separate you from your spouse in the eyes of the law. In Texas, one of the spouses has to be a legal resident of the state for at least months in order to file for divorce. Also, the person needs to have resided in the country for a full 90 days before filing the divorce documents. If it so happens that one spouse is a Texas resident while the other spouse is located in a different state or even country, the non-resident spouse can file for divorce in the other location.

If a resident of Texas is a member of the military and has been working in another region of the world, that person will still be considered a resident. If a person is not a resident of Texas, but has been stationed in Texas for at least 180 days, that person will be considered a resident of Texas with regard to rules pertaining to divorce. In case of pregnancy, Texas courts will refuse to finalize the divorce until the baby is born. This precaution is taken to make room for orders regarding the baby that are to be included in the final ruling.

Preparing for a High Asset Divorce

Divorces are rarely pleasant experiences, and the level of animosity rises when there is a great deal of money at stake. That is why certain preparations need to be made to ensure you get your share from the divorce proceedings. Sift through the records of your marriage, such as photos, receipts and other assets you own. If you have made any expensive purchases, make sure you carry the full documents relating to the buy. Keep a file containing wills, trusts, bank statements, loan details etc. and place it in a safe location.

Keep track of all the costs that go into the divorce proceedings, such as hiring a high-asset divorce attorney. Keep an eye out for any tactics your spouse may use to hide assets. Valuable property may be claimed to be 'lost' or 'misplaced', but this is likely a ploy conceived as an effort to keep you from laying claim to the property. You deserve to receive your share from the divorce, so don't pass up a particular asset during the asset division process just because you don't like it. The asset can always be sold later for a profit. It's better to think in terms of finance, not sentiment.

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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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