Getting divorced is a process that starts with thoughtful and thorough preparation. There are several issues you will need to address, and the more you do to prepare, the better able you will be to negotiate – or, if necessary, fight – for the outcome you desire. From understanding the implications of your prenuptial agreement (if any) to taking steps to improve your chances of securing child custody, being proactive at the outset of the process can have significant benefits down the line.

If you are contemplating a divorce in Texas, here are five key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Which of your assets are community property? Separate property?

In Texas, with limited exceptions, any assets that either spouse acquires during the marriage are considered “community property.” In a divorce, community property assets are divided equally, while any “separate property” (e.g., assets owned prior to the marriage or acquired by inheritance) remain the property of the owning spouse. When preparing for a divorce, taking an inventory of your assets and understanding which ones are subject to division as community property is a critical first step in the process.

2. If you signed a prenup, postnup or marital property agreement, what does it say about divorce?

If you and your spouse signed a prenup, postnup or marital property agreement, you will also need to review the relevant terms of the agreement in order to gain a full picture of the rules governing distribution of your marital assets. Couples frequently use these agreements to create exceptions to the default community property rules, and assets that would normally be subject to division may be yours (or your spouse’s) to keep after your divorce.

Prenups, postnups and marital property agreements typically cover a number of other divorce-related issues as well, and an experienced attorney will be able to help you understand all of the ways that your agreement will impact your divorce.

3. If you have children, are you in a position to seek the custody rights you desire?

Under Texas law, child custody determinations must be made in the best interests of the children involved. There are a number of factors that go into awarding custody in a divorce, and understanding those factors – and how you can use them in your favor – is something you will want to do as soon as possible.

4. What financial support will you (or your spouse) need after your divorce?

If you get divorced, will you need financial support from your former spouse? Will your former spouse need to be financially supported? Texas has unique, and somewhat strict, rules regarding spousal support, and accurately forecasting your post-divorce finances is yet another important early step in the divorce process.

5. Will you and your spouse be able to resolve your differences amicably?

Finally, if you file for divorce, how do you expect your spouse to respond? Will he or she be willing to work toward an amicable resolution through negotiations, mediation or a collaborative divorce? Or, is your divorce likely to end up in court? While litigation may ultimately be unavoidable, with experienced representation there are steps you can take to help minimize the costs of securing a favorable outcome in your divorce.

Contact the McKinney Family Lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC

If you live in the McKinney, TX area and are contemplating a divorce, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We can help you understand the issues so that you can begin making informed decisions about protecting your interests during the divorce process. To speak with a divorce attorney at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC in confidence, please call (214) 726-1450 or contact us online today.