What is Agreement Incident to Divorce (AID)?
If you are currently going through a Texas divorce or researching in preparation for filing for divorce, you may have come across the term “Agreement Incident to Divorce.” While not exceedingly common in Texas divorces, some divorce litigants prefer to use this legal tool for additional privacy.
This may come as a surprise to some, but all divorce pleadings in Texas are in the public record. Certain counties may make it more difficult to obtain the records, but any Texas resident may request access to a Texas divorce (unless it has been sealed by court order). As you might imagine, many people are uncomfortable at the thought of their dirty laundry being available for public consumption. A Final Decree of Divorce may include a property division, which can list all assets and debts including the value. It will include the child support obligation owed if children are involved. For various reasons, a Texas spouse may want to keep the financial specifics as discreet as possible.
An Agreement Incident to Divorce (AID) is prepared in addition to the Final Decree of Divorce or in addendum to the Final Decree. The Final Decree can reference the Agreement Incident to Divorce, which will include all the specific financial or property details. Agreements Incident to Divorce are not typically imaged for public consumption like the Final Decree. The Final Decree of Divorce is the legal tool signed by a judge that grants the divorce, while the AID is what fleshes out the agreements stemming from the divorce.
As the name suggests, an AID requires an agreement. If a divorce matter goes to trial, the trial judge typically renders a judgment and that judgment is reflected in the Final Decree of Divorce rather than an Agreement Incident to Divorce.
There are many scenarios where a divorcing couple may prefer to use an AID in addition to the traditional Final Decree of Divorce. This can include high net value estates, spousal support, above-guideline child support, child support that exceeds traditional code guidelines (such as after the age of 18 or for a disabled child), and other sensitive topics.
An Agreement Incident to Divorce that is approved by a Court is an enforceable and binding contract. If a party fails to live up to the provisions agreed upon in the AID, then the suffering party has legal recourse to file a suit against the failing party.
If you believe an Agreement Incident to Divorce may be a useful tool in your current or pending divorce matter, please call your team at the Ramos Law Group today at (713) 225-6200. Our experienced team of Texas family law attorneys can help advise as to whether an Agreement Incident to Divorce would work for your circumstances.