When you married your spouse in a church or Texas courthouse, you no doubt expected your union to last a lifetime. Perhaps, 10 or more years have passed since that day and things have changed. You’ve changed. Your spouse has changed. Maybe you’re one of many other spouses in this state who have decided they’d rather divorce than stay in an unhappy relationship. Especially if you’ve been working from home or out of the workforce altogether during marriage, divorce can have serious financial implications.
If you have children, your top priority is to make sure you have what you need to provide for their care. Many people divorce, then find themselves struggling to keep food on the table because they didn’t understand how to protect their financial interests during proceedings. You can avoid similar problems by keeping several things in mind. For instance, it’s a good idea to review state property division laws before heading to court.
If you have joint credit card accounts, you’ll want to pay off the balance if you can. If that’s not possible at this time, you might consider asking your creditors if there’s a way to remove your name from the account. Remember that, when a family court judge divides marital property, you will not only receive a portion of the assets but also the liabilities.
There’s no reason you should get stuck with debt because your spouse has continued to run up a credit card balance after you’ve already filed for divorce.
Prepare for full disclosure
To achieve a fair settlement, it’s essential that both parties fully disclose all assets and liability to the court. If you believe your spouse might try to beat the system by hiding assets, it’s wise to protect yourself by making a list ahead of time, perhaps even including photographs of artwork, jewelry or other assets you own. This way, if something goes missing, you have documentation to prove it exists if you decide to file a complaint in court. Hiding assets is illegal, and the court can hold your spouse in contempt if there’s evidence of such a scheme.
Don’t add more debt to the mix
Some Texas spouses go on spending sprees or throw “divorce parties” as a way to celebrate their independence. However, if your goal is to protect your financial interests, you’re better off keeping spending as low as possible. This will help you avoid starting your new lifestyle in debt.
It’s also a good idea to request copies of credit reports, in case your spouse has accounts you didn’t know about or is adding debt to an account that is affecting your personal credit rating, which may impede your ability to begin a new lifestyle on solid financial ground.
Know your rights and how to protect them
Not every divorce is complex or contentious. Then again, even seemingly minor financial issues can cause legal obstacles that delay settlement. The more you learn about Texas property division guidelines ahead of time, the better able to protect your rights and interests you’ll be. If you feel unable to address a particular issue on your own, it’s good to know where to reach out for support.