If you’re just about to get divorced, there are some financial facts about being a couple that you need to understand. You and your spouse have been financially tied together since the day you married — whether that’s a good thing or not — and getting untied again may not be a simple task.
Here are some basic facts you need to keep in mind:
1. It doesn’t matter whose name is on a piece of property.
When you’re married, having your name alone on a piece of property doesn’t necessarily mean it’s solely yours.
For example, look at your car. Is the title in your name only? If it is, you might think that it’s reasonable to believe that the car belongs to you alone. However, Texas is a community property state. Therefore, if that car was acquired after your marriage, it belongs equally to you and your spouse.
While there are always a few exceptions, the odds are high that your spouse can claim half of whatever you’ve acquired or earned during your marriage.
2. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the bills.
Maybe you’re a “saver” who is always dutiful about putting away your extra cash for a rainy day. If your spouse is a “spender,” however, you need to realize that all of those bills that come rolling in are “share and share alike.”
Debts that were acquired during the marriage are usually split equally — just like assets. (That’s true even if you didn’t particularly approve of what your spouse was buying.)
3. Your financial ties can outlast your romantic ones.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to a share of your spouse’s future earnings (or your spouse may be entitled to yours) well after a divorce is over — if the seeds of that wealth were planted during your marriage.
For example, if your spouse worked to put you through graduate school, he may have every right to expect alimony if you divorce him once you make partner in your firm. Maybe the novel you wrote while you were married will hit the best seller list after your divorce, and your ex-spouse will claim some royalties. Either scenario is possible.
Don’t guess about the financial outcome of a divorce. Get an attorney’s experienced advice so that you can better plan for the future.