Marital Agreement

Pre-Marital Agreement

When considering marriage, it’s important to consider each person’s goals before getting married. For example, lots of churches and organizations recommend pre-marriage counseling to discuss issues of conflict management, family planning, household division of labor and household budgets. Unfortunately, it seems taboo for a lot of people to consider the reality that marriages end in divorce and if that is not contemplated during the good times, it will be even more difficult to sort out during the bad times.

Therefore, as part of any marriage, we recommend that you consult a Plano marital agreement lawyer. We can help you understand the nature and characterization of property owned before marriage and accumulated during marriage. We can explain different ways to protect yourself, your future spouse or even family members from the throws and chaos of a divorce.

We understand that when folks get married, the idea of considering divorce feels as if you are planning to fail, but that is not truly the case. In fact, have a clear understanding of debts, income, property and who owns what can alleviate a lot for he pressures that cause divorce.

For example, one spouse spends more than the other, understanding this up front can help you allocate how those debts and how the marital funds are used to pay debts. Having this kind of plan up front can prevent future disputes and insecurity around the financial stresses of marriage.

Meeting with a Richardson Marital agreement lawyer before marriage is not planning for divorce, it is on the contrary, planning to address the known stresses of marriage that could lead to divorce.

Post-Marriage Agreement

Divorce is not necessarily always the answer for a couple who is struggling in their marriage. Sometimes a period of separation to allow the parties some space and time away from one another can be a powerful tool in preserving a marriage. Often people may want or need some time apart to heal and to consider the root of the marital difficulties. A period of separation can also remind individuals of why they married their spouse in the first place. However, a period of separation can be difficult to achieve for a couple with children, community assets and community debts. How can couples contemplating separation protect themselves?

Texas recognizes Marital Separation Agreements, also known as property settlement agreements. These agreements can reach all the important issues within a marriage such as: dividing property, clarifying parenting rights, and making alimony and custodial arrangements. A marital separation agreements is a contract between the parties that clearly defines the rights and obligations of each party during the period of separation. The fact that this document creates a contract gives each individual an enforcement right with respect to the terms of the agreement. Thus, party interests are protected through the use of a marital separation agreement.

If the separation period is unsuccessful in bringing the couple to reconciliation and divorce becomes the only option a good marital separation agreement can streamline the divorce process. The separation agreement can provide the court evidence of when the parties actually separated. The agreement can also be the basis for the division of property, debts, parenting responsibilities, and custodial arrangements. The benefit is that the court can better recognize and give effect to the interests and desires of the parties.

There is no need for a marital separation agreement to be filed with the court for it to be effective. Also, a marital separation agreement may be entered into at any time. Therefore, there is no requirement that the parties enter into such an agreement before filing for divorce. It is possible that as divorce proceedings are ongoing the parties determine a marital separation agreement would help protect their interests as opposed to leaving everything to the discretion of the court.

Some provisions of a marital separation agreement are more important in some circumstance than in other circumstances. For example, a marital separation agreement can survive the divorce judgment as a separate contract, or it can be merged and incorporated into the divorce judgment. If the marital agreement remains separate it may only be modified through agreement of the parties (as with any contract). On the other hand, if the agreement is merged with the judgment it would be possible for a party to bring a court action to modify. Therefore, if the agreement only concerns custody and visitation of children, it would not make a difference if the marital agreement survives or is merged. However, if the marital agreement includes provisions for child support or spousal support it may be important that the agreement survive judgment.

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