The high number of well-known couples who have gone through divorces in recent months is staggering, and more couples seem to be added to the list daily. There are certainly lessons to be learned from many of these much-publicized divorces. One aspect of many high-profile divorces that seems to lead to ongoing legal battles is the lack of written contracts. There are manners in which assets in Texas marriages can be divorce-proofed.
A prenuptial agreement must be signed well in advance of a marriage and can cover all known assets and specify the separate property that will be taken into the marriage. A post-nuptial agreement is also a valuable tool for protecting individual assets acquired during the marriage. The requirements for ensuring enforceability of both prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements include fairness of the agreement and full understanding of both parties as to its contents. Furthermore, it must be clear that one party was not defrauded by the other party and that each party was represented by independent legal counsel when the agreement was signed.
More and more couples decide to remain unmarried but live together as married couples. Failure to sign a cohabitation agreement can be detrimental if such a relationship is ended. It is advisable to protect the individual assets of cohabitants to avoid costly legal battles after the break-up. Individuals with substantial assets may choose to make use of off-shore trusts, but they must be declared as assets. During property division, the court may decide to award a larger portion of on-shore assets to the other party.
While divorce is typically the last thing to be considered while all is well, divorce-proofing your assets can do no harm. In fact, knowing that assets are protected may provide peace of mind and less contention among spouses. It is suggested by knowledgeable professionals that every individual in a permanent relationship — regardless of the value of their assets — retain the services of an experienced divorce attorney to advise him or her on the drafting of legal agreements that will protect his or her assets in the unfortunate event of a divorce in Texas.
Source: tulsaworld.com, “Celebrity break-ups teach legal lessons“, Brittany Thomas, Oct. 22, 2015