If you are going through a divorce and have no children then your financial future should be at the top of any list of concerns that you have to go into the process. While there are assuredly emotional components to the divorce those thoughts need to be kept in perspective.
I don’t mean to sound shallow, uncaring or oblivious to these thoughts (I’m married as well, for the record) but as a wise attorney once told me, a divorce is a financial transaction when it comes down to it. Managing your emotions, your relationships and your finances make a divorce one of the most difficult times of your life.
Your divorce attorney serves a crucial role for you during your divorce. He or she will help you to understand not only the steps in the immediate process that you are going through (divorce) but to consider the long-term implications of the decisions that you are making as well.
When you are evaluating attorneys that you have met with it is important to look at each as you would a teacher. Can you learn something from your attorney? Will he or she not only advocate for you with strength but also teach you about your rights?
Financial strength and stability are among those issues that most everyone going through a divorce are seeking. We’ve already discussed your need to balance various competing interests in your divorce but your financial future is among the practical concerns that hopefully, you will be able to place your focus on in the midst of the struggles of your divorce.
This not only means opening up new checking accounts, taking your spouse’s name off your credit cards and things of this nature, but it also means looking towards retirement and securing whatever you can in that area.
You may be looking at your assets ahead of a divorce with the realization that your retirement plans are among your biggest assets, if not your biggest. Diligently saving, no matter how the stock market has performed, has left you and your spouse in a good position for financial independence in the years after you have stopped working. Does a divorce necessarily have to put an end to those plans?
In short- no, not necessarily. Protecting yourself and your future from losing more than you absolutely have to in your divorce, and gaining an appropriate share of your spouse’s retirement funds, is what this blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will center around.
Just how crucial a role will your retirement benefits play in your divorce?
Those portions of retirement plans that were accumulated during the course of your marriage are considered to be community property in Texas and are subject to be divided in your divorce between you and your spouse.
This can be done either by agreement between you and your spouse or can be achieved through the judge ordering a specific division after a contested trial. Learning as much as you can above the assets available to you and your spouse before you even begin your divorce is a strong plan for success.
Texas family law and retirement benefits
The law in Texas has already been stated in the prior paragraph- we consider those portions of your retirement funds added during the marriage to be community property.
As your divorce progresses the amounts in each plan may rise somewhat, but considering the length of the average divorce, there will not be a substantial increase in the value of each plan from the time your divorce is filed until your divorce reaches its conclusion.
Obtaining information on retirement plans prior to filing for divorce
It is overwhelmingly likely that you are a named beneficiary on any retirement plan that your spouse has in their name. This means that you are entitled to receive information about each plan from the administrators of each. If you can learn where each plan is held, contact each for additional information and provide this to your attorney you will have saved yourself and your attorney a boatload of time.
The same applies to any retirement plan that you have in your name. Collect the plan’s informational packets and provide them to your attorney along with recent statements.
Not only will the amount in each plan be important at the negotiating table but how portions of the assets can be distributed (periodically according to amount vs. all in one lump sum) can be important to know as well.
Go to your spouse or go to the judge
Did you know that your divorce is far more likely to end at the negotiating table rather than in a courtroom with the judge? In Texas this is true. You and your spouse will likely mediate on your case at least once prior to engaging in a contested trial and this is typically for the best.
You all are more equipped to provide a detailed and well thought out plan for your post-divorce lives than a judge would be. After all- nobody knows your lives better than you and your spouse.
Settling your case can save time, money, effort and stress. It is not always possible to do so but I would recommend you consider this option before rolling the dice and going to court. As the old saying goes: “Discretion is the better part of valor.”
More on retirement and divorce to be posted tomorrow
TheLaw Office of Bryan Fagan will be posting articles over the course of the next few days discussing retirement in the context of your divorce. Our objective is to provide you all with some information for use in your divorce.
If you are considering filing for divorce or have just been served with divorce papers please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is free of charge. A consultation can be scheduled six days a week where your questions can be answered in a comfortable environment.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Dividing a Pension in your divorce
- Proceeding into Divorce aware of risks regarding retirement division, Part Two
- Proceeding into Divorce aware of risks regarding retirement division
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and your Divorce: Taxes and General Information
- Splitting retirement accounts in a Texas Divorce
- Social Security division in a Divorce
- Will Social Security Benefits play a substantial role in my Texas Divorce?
- Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
- Key Elements of a Divorce for persons over the age of 50
- 7 Tips for Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas
- Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas: What it Can Mean for You and Your Spouse
- Texas Divorce and Retirement & Employment Benefits by the Numbers
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with a Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.