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How people can protect their finances in divorce

When couples in Texas decide to get a divorce, they might want to separate their joint accounts and open new personal accounts. In addition to beginning to divide assets, this can allow people to put away money to pay for a divorce if necessary.

People who do not work outside the home might want to look into getting job training, and those who are unfamiliar with the family finances should educate themselves about the situation. This includes understanding the value of assets such as retirement accounts. People should also get documentation of these assets including paperwork on various types of accounts and photographs of valuable physical objects. If possible, individuals should review credit reports for both spouses to make sure each is aware of all open accounts. This is not a time to increase debt.

People may want to get a post office box so that they can receive information confidentially. However, it is important to avoid giving the appearance of trying to hide assets during a divorce. Therefore, the other spouse should be informed about the opening of a personal account or if their partner takes a portion of a joint account or a valuable item from the home.

A person who believes a spouse may be hiding assets might want to discuss this with an attorney. In Texas, a community property state, most of the assets and debts the couple has acquired since the marriage will be considered marital property. This means that if only one person has worked outside the home or one person's income is significantly lower than the other person's, the higher-earning spouse's retirement account and other assets may still be considered shared property unless the two have a prenuptial agreement. This may include businesses owned by either person as well. One person may need to buy out the other, or both spouses might continue as joint owners.

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