Going through a divorce is stressful. There are many decisions that need to be made about property division, child custody, child support, and more. Sometimes, in the turmoil of decision-making, mistakes are made. At the law firm of Springer & Lyle, we guide you through the process with a keen eye to avoid some of the common mistakes.
Division of Community Property
Texas is a community property state which means that all property acquired during the marriage belongs to both parties. Property owned by one party prior to the marriage generally remains that person’s separate property unless there has been commingling of the separate property with community property.
Any gift given to one party is that person’s separate property. Also, if one spouse received a personal injury award or inheritance, those remain that person’s separate property.
Mistakes are made when there is a failure to identify which is private property and which is community property when making a property division.
Retirement Benefits May be Both Private and Community Property
Retirement benefits are often in the name of just one person. But, if it was acquired during the marriage, it is community property no matter whose name the account is in. A mistake is made when the spouse whose name is not on the account fails to claim his or her half of the benefit.
Then, the final divorce decree is entered which mean that everything in one spouse’s name belongs to that spouse including bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investments. The non-owner of the accounts may not realize until later that they should have gotten a share of those accounts but failed to claim them during the divorce process.
Hiding or Failing to Disclose Assets
The law requires both parties to be scrupulously honest about their assets. A California case currently in the news involves one spouse who is suing her famous ex-husband, a best-selling novelist, a year after the final divorce decree. She asserts that her former spouse hid assets and spent community property funds on giving gifts to another woman during the marriage. If Texas law applied, it is likely that the hidden assets would be awarded to the non-hiding spouse.
Social Media Posts
No matter how private your settings, in litigation, the opposing party will be able to access your posts. Do not comment on your divorce status. Do not post pictures of you and your friends. The best advice: Do not post anything on any social media during the divorce process. Anything you post may be used against you.