THE RIGHT WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF FINANCIALLY IN A DIVORCE
If you are going through a separation, one of the first questions to cross your mind may be, “How can I spend my money during a divorce?” A simple question like this can be answered many different ways. In a divorce, there are limits on what you can and can’t do with your finances. If you don’t follow the rules, there can be heavy consequences, such as the court may order you to repay money to your spouse from your share of the estate.
If your top concern is how your divorce will affect you financially, you probably feel like you’re stuck in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, trying to gather the most pebbles so you can take care of yourself and your children’s future. What you are feeling is completely normal, and your reasons for feeling this way are fully understandable. Bills need to be paid, groceries need to be bought, and so on and so forth. Now add attorney fees.
WHEN IN DOUBT, TALK TO A LAWYER
The sooner you can talk to a lawyer, the better. Nothing you read online will be better than the advice you can get from consulting with a seasoned, local family law attorney specifically about YOUR case. Consulting with a family law attorney is recommended because they will be more familiar with the issues you are experiencing and how to tackle them. Consider hiring a local attorney. A local attorney will be more familiar with state and local court rules and may have a good reputation in certain counties.
If you are getting divorced in Houston, Texas, don’t take the advice of your cousin’s aunt’s half-sister’s best friend that got divorced 20 years ago in a small town no one has ever heard of. Every case is different and what’s best for you will not necessarily be what was best for them.
Our focused and knowledgeable attorneys at Myres & Associates, PLLC have put together 8 tips that will help you manage your money during a divorce.
8 TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR MONEY DURING A DIVORCE
1. Keep the crazy in check.
So you just found out your spouse has been cheating on you for the life of your marriage or has another family across town? As much as you want to take their credit card and go on a shopping spree, you can’t. Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t lose your cool and make spontaneous purchases or damage anything of value. You may end up having to pay it back.
2. Don’t buy, sell or liquidate any expensive property, such as vehicles, homes, stocks, or retirement accounts without getting a lawyer’s advice first.
Even if the property is in your name, consult an attorney before selling or buying any property or assets. How, when, and where the property is obtained or sold are all factors in determining how the property is divided in the divorce. Simply taking money out of certain retirement accounts early will likely have large tax consequences, which can affect your estate.
3. Don’t mix bank accounts.
Different state laws govern how community and separate property are handled. In Texas, when you put the money you earned before marriage into a joint account with your spouse, you risk having to divide that money with your spouse.
4. Don’t hide assets.
Any asset that is not disclosed at the time the judge signs the final divorce order can be divided later.
5. Don’t run up, pay off, or close any credit card accounts without first talking with a lawyer.
Depending on your situation, this may or may not be a good idea. Talk to a lawyer before deciding.
6. Buy the necessities.
Food, clothing, shelter, and even attorney’s fees are allowed expenditures during the divorce process.
7. Pay your bills.
It is unlikely that any contempt will follow from paying anything that, if left unpaid would cause any harm to the marital estate.
8. Consider a Temporary Restraining Order.
Talk to your attorney if any of the topics mentioned above are a concern for you of your spouse. A Temporary Restraining Order may be needed to legally restrict any financial changes once the divorce action begins.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
The lawyers of Myres & Associates, PLLC are here to help! Our firm focuses on divorce and family law in Houston, Texas and our team has more than 35 years of experience. If you have any questions about protecting your financial assets during a divorce, one of our attorneys will be happy to talk to you during a consultation. Give us a call today at (713) 622-1600.