Divorce can take a devastating emotional toll on a family, especially when children are involved. But there are also several financial considerations when ending a marriage here in Texas. Knowing what those challenges entail will help you protect yourself and make the process less painful.
After a divorce, ex-spouses’ earnings are usually affected, some are split in half while others may be left without income. This can often lead to both parties having high debt levels, especially if both are still responsible for loan and credit card balances.
Child support and alimony
There are two central financial issues of a divorce settlement addressing the care of children and former spouses:
- Child support: Parents agree to a figure, or the state calculates payments based on the best interests of the child. Payments can last until the child turns 18 and are usually determined by each parents’ income, the number of children and the terms of the custody agreement.
- Alimony: Spousal support, or maintenance, is not the same as child support. Courts usually view it as a temporary method to help a spouse whose income declines dramatically after a divorce. Like child support, alimony usually ends at some point.
What happens to marital property?
Texas is one of nine states that consider all marital assets as community property to be split evenly during a divorce. Before filing, it’s important to detail all assets owned by both spouses, such as:
- Bank accounts
- House, cars, boats or other vehicles
- Retirement plans
- Cash life insurance policies
- Stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds
- Tax refunds
- Artwork and other collectibles
Address debt before a divorce
Paying off any jointly held debt, such as loans or credit cards, should be a goal for couples going through a divorce. It is a good idea to close joint bank accounts, but first, consult with an attorney before removing any assets. Also, consider the financial impact of the divorce process when assessing your financial future. Couples should weigh the cost of a long protracted legal battle in a contested divorce.
Seek compassionate legal advice
While divorce is one of the most challenging times in a person’s life, it often leads to a brighter independent future for many. The best way to prepare is to understand the potential financial impacts. An experienced family law attorney here in Texas can help you through the process and work to get the settlement you deserve or fight for your rights in court, if litigation is necessary.