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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Divorce can sometimes be avoided by a postnuptial agreement

The beginning of the year in Texas and elsewhere is traditionally the busiest time of the year for new divorce filings. Some couples, however, do not get out of the starting blocks due to inertia, not wanting to rock the boat, financial interdependence, a desire to maintain stability for the children and a host of other considerations. There are options to divorce in cases where the facts may support legal innovations.

The main legal protection being used short of an actual divorce is called a postnuptial agreement. Most people know about prenuptial agreements that are signed prior to the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are legally enforceable contracts that define in advance of the marriage how property will be divided if the marriage ends. Where one spouse is substantially wealthier than the other, the contract is often used to limit the less wealthy spouse's share of marital assets upon a divorce.

Like the prenup, the postnup is also a contract between the parties that defines the relationship, especially with respect to property division and alimony matters. This tool can also be used to warn a spouse that a certain behavior will no longer be tolerated or there will be consequences. If the spouse has had an affair, for example, the postnuptial provision can specify that a divorce will occur if it happens again.  

The agreement can set out certain topics that both parties agree to discuss if conflicts arise. It can provide set parameters for acceptable behavior between the parties. The postnuptial contract can also set up promises that each party makes going forward, and the consequences if promises are broken.

Like a prenuptial agreement, the postnup can define the terms of financial resolutions that will occur during a divorce. Because a postnup is a contract, it can be used by Texas parties who are making one last effort at saving the marriage or to maintain a period of stability for the children's sake. Additionally, the actual divorce proceedings, if they become necessary, may go faster and cost less because of the decisions already set forth in the postnuptial agreement.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Source:, "Headed for Divorce This Year?", Susan Pease Gadoua, Jan. 14, 2018

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