If you and your spouse are facing divorce, you probably anticipate the property settlement phase with a certain amount of anxiety.
This is new territory, but you can enter it with more confidence than fear. You can navigate property division more easily if you avoid these four mistakes:
- Harboring unrealistic expectations
Many divorcing couples make the mistake of thinking their post-divorce lifestyle will be much the same as it is now. However, assets like the marital home will undergo division and so will retirement accounts, savings accounts and much more.
Significant changes in lifestyle will occur and, in many cases, the parties will have to create a new budget and learn to live on less.
- Assuming the status quo will continue
Life holds many changes. You could lose your job or become disabled. Your children may develop health problems. The value of an asset may depreciate.
When you are working to reach a divorce settlement, do not fail to anticipate changes. Add language that takes the unexpected into account.
- Avoiding the details
The details of a divorce can seem overwhelming, but avoiding them could create chaos for your future.
Make your post-divorce life easier by setting up an automatic payment plan for support payments, establish a system to record all costs you will share with your soon-to-be-ex and document any issues that arise.
- Lacking financial preparedness
Do not face property division financially unprepared. Create either a handwritten or electronic personal balance sheet of assets and liabilities in advance.
Ask questions of your accountant or attorney so that you have a clear understanding of how your current financial circumstances will change in a post-divorce world.
Determining an equitable property settlement split
Although Texas is a community property state in which there is a 50/50 split of marital property, the outcome in most cases is not that cut and dried. The court considers a variety of factors in making a final determination.
These factors include the age and health of the spouses, the earning power of each, the value of each spouse’s separate property and the needs of the children, if any.