Disputes involving money are at the heart of many divorces. Money conflicts often signal deeper issues, such as trust and fidelity. Those same issues can turn a divorce dispute into an all-out domestic mess.
Whether your marriage was one of genuine romantic bond or a union of convenience, the fact is that marriage places your fortune at risk. Difficult as it may be to admit, divorce is a real possibility for every married couple. Without taking steps to protect your assets, you may find yourself struggling if your marriage should end. While prenuptial agreements are certainly valuable, you can do other things to ensure your marriage or divorce does not drain your bank.
Since Texas is a community property state, all assets that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage become jointly owned. If your spouse stops working in order to raise children, half of your income still legally belongs to him or her. It is wise to determine as early as possible what the law considers to be your income.
For example, do you receive an income from a family trust? Do you have an inheritance you have invested? Do you own a family business? You would be wise to seek the guidance of an expert Board-certified family law attorney who can advise you how to best protect those assets and keep them separate from your community funds, if that is your goal.
Income is only one factor to consider when protecting your assets. A divorce can jeopardize your finances in numerous other ways, so you will want to carefully plan for the following:
- Control your debt: Debts you acquire jointly will remain your legal responsibility even if a divorce order assigns them to your spouse. It is wise to keep your personal debt separate and pay off joint debts as quickly as possible.
- Anticipate post-divorce “maintenance” (a.k.a. “alimony”): Plan to provide your stay-at-home spouse with appropriate spousal support to compensate for the financial sacrifices he or she has made, if your spouse qualifies. Otherwise, a divorce order may require you to at least help your ex-spouse maintain a certain standard of living (“minimum reasonable needs”, in Texas, for example).
- Protect your public image: Marital discord and subsequent divorce can damage your reputation if the media puts the wrong spin on it. Scandal or an unsympathetic portrayal of your role in the marriage may have negative consequences for your business.
Even if your marriage is sailing along happily, you cannot be too careful about protecting your assets and your public image. It is wise to seek legal advice whenever your wealth and your future are at stake. You can do this by contacting an experienced Board-certified family law attorney who has assisted many others in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or surrounding counties and throughout Texas.