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Without a prenup in place, crucial decisions can be left to state

Many Texans are aware that without a will or any sort of estate planning, a person's death can result in turmoil and confusion for family members. However, what many people don't realize is that marriage also can take on a life of its own. When a marriage ends without a prenuptial agreement, a similar scenario can befall parties to a marriage.

Of course, bringing up the topic of a prenuptial agreement can feel awkward amidst the optimism of planning for a wedding. However, if a prenup or postnup is not put into place and a divorce occurs, important legal questions may have to be answered by a court, rather than by the parties themselves. Divorcing without a prenup can mean that certain decisions are made according to the state's divorce laws, without significant input by the couple.

In Texas, the division of community property and liabilities is known as "just and right." However, what appears fair and appropriate to one person might seem the exact opposite to another. The court will examine many different factors to determine property division outcomes. These can include, but are by no means limited to, child custody, employability and earning power of each party, duration of the marriage, and the size of the estate or estates.

With a prenuptial agreement in place, parties can decide for themselves how community property and liabilities will be divided. In order for a prenup to be valid, both parties must agree on its contents. While this may prove difficult at times, it is usually easier than engaging in a drawn-out property division process later on. In addition, the creation of a prenup or a postnup forces couples to work together towards a fair solution, which is an invaluable tool during either marriage or divorce.

Source: Forbes, "Skittish about a prenup? Like it or not, you already have one," Jeff Landers, July 17, 2013

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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.

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