A recent article in a local paper profiled the divorce of a Jersey Village, Texas, woman and her experiences during her divorce. The woman said that her and her husband had considered divorce for years, even going through counseling where they eventually settled on postponing divorce until their daughters left for college. When the day finally came, the woman says that she felt scared and instantly went into survival mode attempting to figure out how she would afford to live apart from her husband despite having had years to prepare.
Eventually, the fear and apprehension began to fade as she made herself knowledgeable about property and finances. The woman says that with the help of both her attorney and her husband's attorney, the couple was able to divide up their assets with a minimum of drama and go their separate ways, but that isn't always the case.
According to a certified financial planner and divorce financial analyst profiled in the story, many people are misinformed about how divorce actually works in Texas. She says that people assume that they and their spouse will simple put down every account, place them all together and just split it all down the middle. She goes on to say that alimony or spousal support is very rare in Texas, although generally speaking, when it comes to dividing community property it is the lower-earning spouse who receives a larger portion.
The financial expert also advises the lower-earning member of the divorce to place greater significance on the liquid assets of the marriage. She says that while getting the money that's socked away in an individual retirement account or pension plan is good, it's not going to help you with your day-to-day expenses as you transition to a new life.
Additionally, she advises people who know that a divorce is imminent to be proactive in making copies of all their financial documents. She says that those papers have a funny way of disappearing once divorce papers are served. In another piece of advice, the expert says that it's a good idea to remove half of the money from a shared bank account and place that into a separate account under your name only. That way at least you will still have money to pay an attorney should the divorce grow contentious.
In Texas, either party may file for divorce, as this is a "no fault" state. However, that doesn't mean that the court won't consider which party filed when rendering a decision regarding alimony. That's why the decision to initiate a divorce should be considered very carefully.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "How to have a 'good' divorce" Alyson Ward, May. 13, 2014