One of the most crucial elements in a divorce is protecting your finances. You need to understand how Texas law will apply to you and your specific case. In this blog post, we will concentrate on information about the financial aspects in a divorce.

The division of marital property in a Texas divorce

To start understanding the division of marital property in Texas, we will begin by discussing the basics of community property. Community property law provides the standards and terms when dividing marital property during a divorce. You need to know that all properties acquired during the course of the marriage and owned by you and your spouse at the time of the divorce is considered community property. Consequently, these properties are subject to be divided between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. All other assets and properties acquired prior to a marriage with proof of separate ownership by the individual is separate property. You and your spouse will both have the chance to provide evidence and present your arguments and claims on which is separate property and which is not, which will then be subject to division.

At the start of the divorce, your independent counsel will ask that you fill out paperwork categorizing which property belongs to whom, their value, and the debts acquired during the marriage. This document is called “inventory and appraisement”. Accurate and complete documentation is beneficial while negotiating for your share in the division of the community property estate. Start taking notes and even pictures of assets and possessions in your home. Take a picture of every room in your house and the inventory in any safe. Sometimes possessions “disappear” during the divorce process, so it is important to be thorough with the documentation process. When you take the time to document everything, it can protect you in the event that your spouse is trying to hide any assets from you.

After thorough documentation, assess the value of each property. This step allows the court to place a value on each asset, debt and item of property to be divided. The next thing you will need to do is to take a look at your credit report and distinguish which credit accounts are in your name. It happens quite often that a spouse would open a credit card account in their spouse’s name without their spouse knowing. You don’t want to have credit card accounts opened in your name which you know nothing about. Protecting your finances is not limited to taking what is rightfully yours. It also means being protected from taking the responsibility for debts which are not yours. Debt will play a huge part in the divorce process just like assets and properties will.

Be mindful and plan to protect your finances

When considering filing for divorce, you need to have a plan from the start of the process through life after divorce. Working with your lawyer to reach you short-term and long-term goals is essential to help you get through the divorce process. Consider your age, health, employment status, and retirement goals when planning. You also need to reevaluate your goals every now and then depending on the particular circumstances and elements unfolding during the process. Have a solid plan that will support a fair outcome for your important goals and be ready to compromise on some objectives that are not as important to you and will not support your priorities. As much as possible, work with your spouse as a team to keep from having to rely on the judge to settle the community property estate division for you. Consider negotiating in a mediation and settling for what is mutually beneficial to you and your spouse. For instance, if you are an older person, you would want to hang on to most of your retirement savings than to argue over other assets and properties with a similar value. If you are younger, you would then look to avoid acquiring any additional debts and liabilities. You would focus more on dividing fairly the debts and liabilities between you and your spouse. It is crucial that you have the valid documentation showing you are not responsible for any credit card or business debts and liabilities.

Consult the right divorce or family law case attorney to protect your finances

The right attorney that will fit the specific issues of your case is crucial to get the best outcome at the conclusion of your divorce. Having the right attorney will help you plan and develop strategies to accomplish your goals. While speaking with an attorney, make sure you are honest about your goals for your divorce. This will allow them to represent you in the most effective way possible.

If you are considering divorce, speak with one of our divorce attorneys so you can understand your options and put yourself on the right track for a successful life post-divorce.