How to prepare financially for a divorce

Texas couples who are ending their marriages may need to take stock of their financial situation and make plans for how they will handle those finances both during and after the divorce. It may be better to take advice from legal and financial professionals than from friends and acquaintances who have been through divorces before. Different situations may require different solutions.

People should look at their income, household expenses and debts, and gather financial documents. Tax returns, bank, credit card and investment statements, and pay stubs are among the documents that people should keep handy. Even if the divorce is amicable, people should be prepared for resistance from their spouse. It may be necessary to go through legal channels to compel a spouse to release financial information.

Changes to wills and beneficiary designations should not be done until the divorce is final or a person has gotten court approval or legal counsel. Major spending or financial decisions should also be postponed at this time. If people share accounts, they should try to spend normally from those accounts.

Since Texas is a community property state, the assets and debts acquired by a couple after marriage are generally considered shared property. There may be a few exceptions such as an inheritance that a person keeps separate from the marital assets. If one person has made significantly more money than the other and has contributed to a retirement account when the other person has not, that retirement account might still be divided between the two people. One party may also owe spousal support to the other who either does not work outside the home or whose income is significantly lower. An attorney may be able to further advise a client on what to expect financially.

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