It may seem counterintuitive for Texas couples to think about divorce while planning a wedding, but the high divorce rates suggest that may be a pragmatic strategy for individuals with assets they’d like to protect if their marriages fail. Removing uncertainty is always good and can even help a marriage prosper by allowing couples to focus on the present more fully.
One simple way couples can protect themselves is by keeping individual as well as joint financial accounts. Any mixing of the funds will result in an account being considered joint property, so discipline is required to make this strategy work. Additionally, the usage of joint funds for the maintenance, renovation or repair of individually held property can also result in that property being later classified as a joint asset. If someone brings investment accounts or real property into his or her marriage, it is prudent for him or her to get an accurate valuation of the assets right before he or she gets married. Merely keeping account statements can help in this regard, but getting appraisals for real estate or other unique assets is a wise move.
Prenuptial agreements remain the most effective method of sorting out the distribution of property and money in advance of divorce, but a close second is the postnuptial agreement, which can happen at any point after a marriage takes place. If an individual inherits property during a marriage, adding his or her spouse’s name to the deed could be problematic if marital troubles ensue. The same scenario could cause extreme headaches in the event of an untimely death, possibly leaving the surviving spouse to be partners with the deceased spouse’s children from a prior marriage.
Divorce planning is always unpleasant, but viewing it in the same light as a will or an insurance policy can help. Getting counsel from a family lawyer with a track record of success can help but a structure in place to give fair economic protections to everyone involved.