The thought of ending a once-loving relationship can be bad enough on its own, but adding an uncertain financial future to the equation presents an extra layer of fear and anxiety to any divorce between Texas spouses.
But the good news is there are steps you can take to protect your new life as a single person. First, consult with an experienced and compassionate family law attorney who can guide you through the process.
Five steps to protect your future financial well-being
In addition to charting a budget for paying monthly bills, including mortgage or rent, utilities and other expenses, it’s vital to take steps to protect assets by:
- Establishing a legal separation date: Until this date is set in writing, all income you earn and assets you acquire may be subject to division.
- Checking your credit: Get a copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion and check for any potential errors or damage resulting from your spouse’s actions.
- Separating debt: If possible, pay off all balances and close jointly held credit card accounts. If paying them off is not possible, divide debt and transfer to individually held cards.
- Separating bank accounts: As soon as possible, transfer 50% of the funds from a joint bank account to an individual account.
- Minimizing tax consequences: You will have to consider the tax consequences of any assets you retain. These costs should be figured into the settlement.
Know what you want and how to get it
Your attorney understands how these and other financial factors can affect your new life. By addressing these items, you can forge a plan and focus on other key matters, such as spousal support for job training or finding a new career, or having your children’s college paid for by your ex.
Covering all these bases is essential and can help determine whether you’ll have the resources to keep the family home and meet other monthly and annual expenses. Yes, divorce is stressful. But knowledge is power, and knowing what to expect can bring you peace of mind.