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How Do I Protect Myself Financially From My Spouse During a Divorce?

Chandler Rice Winslow | August 9, 2023

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Divorce is always a highly emotional and stressful point in one’s life. It can often feel like your life is falling apart around you, and uncertainty about the future can cause anyone to feel anxious, especially with regard to your financial standing. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure your financial stability after a divorce.

Seven Ways to Protect Yourself in a Divorce in Texas

Create a Financial Plan for Your Divorce

The first thing you should do to protect yourself financially during a divorce is to create a plan for your financial future post-divorce. Establishing your financial goals and priorities early on will make difficult decisions a bit easier later on. For instance, do you want to retain ownership of the home? Or are you willing to forego the house in exchange for another asset? Choices like these are inevitable, and it helps to have your priorities outlined when the time comes to make a decision.

Open Your Own Bank Account

Most couples choose to establish a joint bank account when they get married. During a divorce, though, you should set up a bank account solely in your name as soon as possible. This step is especially important for spouses without jobs or who have been stay-at-home parents before the divorce. Opening a separate bank account under your name will allow you to start building better credit for your future. Doing so may also separate your spending patterns from your spouse’s and protect you if your spouse goes on a reckless spending spree during the divorce process or seeks to harm you financially. However, while establishing your own account is important, certain Courts have specific orders regarding use and management of marital funds during a divorce, so be sure to consult with an experienced family lawyer prior to doing anything with marital funds.

Separate Your Debt

Ensuring financial well-being requires being aware of your debt. The amount of debt that each spouse assumes will factor into determining how to equitably divide the marital estate between the parties. During a divorce, debts may be categorized as either joint or separate. Separate debt generally refers to any debt that a spouse accrued before the marriage. Joint debt applies to most debts taken on during the marriage. Understanding what types of debt you may be left with following the divorce is important so you can figure out how to pay it off once the divorce is finalized.

Monitor Your Credit Score

Your credit score will unavoidably be affected in a divorce, whether that’s due to closing a joint account or all of your assets being held in your spouse’s name. You should be proactive about protecting and improving your credit. Request credit reports early in the divorce process to understand what your profile looks like and what you can do to raise your score. Though it will take time, acting now can make a big difference in the coming years.

Take an Inventory of Your Assets

Much of your property from marriage will be considered jointly owned, but not all of it. You should make sure to note which assets belong exclusively to you. These individually owned assets may include inheritances, gifts, and other valuables brought into the marriage with you.

Review Your Retirement Accounts

Many divorcing spouses fall into the trap of assuming that their retirement account will remain theirs following a divorce. In Texas and a few other states, your retirement account could be considered community property and therefore be subject to division. Be sure to speak with an attorney or financial advisor so you will know what to expect concerning your 401(k),IRA, or other retirement account.

Consider Mediation Before Litigation

High emotions are to be expected during a divorce, but it’s important not to let them overwhelm your judgment. Even if you and your spouse disagree on a few matters, it can benefit both parties to resolve the divorce through mediation instead of litigation. This approach allows for more creative solutions to resolution and can often leave you feeling more satisfied than if a court makes decisions for you. Mediation can also be significantly less expensive than litigation. However, sometimes, litigation is unavoidable. In these cases, it is essential to hire an experienced divorce attorney.

Get Help Protecting Yourself and Your Future With Goranson Bain Ausley

If you’re wondering, “How do I protect myself in a divorce in Texas?” one of your first steps should be contacting a family law attorney you can trust. Goranson Bain Ausley is the largest law firm in Texas, exclusively practicing family law and home to some of the top divorce lawyers in all of Texas. Our attorneys are experienced in both mediation and litigation to ensure that you are protected financially throughout your divorce. Contact us today for a consultation to find out what we can do for you.

Chandler Rice Winslow has been named D Magazine Best Lawyers Under 40 for 2022 and Ones to Watch, 2023, in the field of family law by Best Lawyers in America. She has experience in business and real estate law in addition to representing a wide variety of clients in family law, including working and non-working mothers. Chandler understands how a business operates and works closely with business owners on identifying separate and community property. She is also sought after for drafting pre-and post-nuptial agreements and solving highly contested custody issues.

To learn more about securing your financial future during and after divorce, please contact Chandler Winslow at 214-617-2053.

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