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austin divorce lawyerConflict around finances is one of the most common reasons couples in Texas get divorced. Whether financial troubles are due to irresponsible spending or an unpredictable downturn in a family business, the added stress of financial woes makes divorce even more difficult. 

Couples who are getting divorced may wonder if filing for bankruptcy would be beneficial. Each couple’s situation is unique, so it is important to understand how bankruptcy during divorce works and what your options are. This blog is a brief overview of how bankruptcy and divorce can influence each other. If you have questions about your divorce and financial situation, a qualified Texas divorce attorney is your best source for information. 

Should We File For Bankruptcy Before or After Filing For Divorce? 

Bankruptcy proceedings attempt to help couples or individuals reorganize their debt in a manageable way, but the bankruptcy process itself is not free. If couples wait until after they are divorced, they will have to pay the filing fees, credit counseling fees, and attorney’s fees twice - once for each spouse. If couples are still married, they can file a joint bankruptcy case. 

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Posted on in Divorce

austin divorce lawyerDividing marital property is generally one of the most difficult and contentious parts of a divorce. Couples, especially those who have been married for many years, have often accumulated a large number of valuable assets. Included in the assets that must be divided are individual and shared retirement accounts, such as pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs. 

Spouses who earned pensions through decades of hard work may understandably feel upset about having to divide money they view as being rightfully theirs. Likewise, other spouses will have supported a working spouse throughout a career and feel entitled to their fair share of the retirement funds. It is important to understand how retirement funds are generally handled in a Texas divorce so divorcees can set reasonable expectations throughout the process. 

Are Retirement Benefits Always Divided Between Spouses? 

Individuals who contributed to a retirement account prior to getting married will generally retain ownership over that portion of money. But contributions made after getting married are considered community property and are subject to division in a divorce, even if only one spouse’s name is on the retirement account. Accounts can consist of both personal and community property. 

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austin divorce lawyerWhen parents get divorced in Texas, their children are often one of their most important concerns. Addressing child-related issues is also one of the most important parts of the divorce process. Most notably, parents will need to determine child custody arrangements that affect each parent’s involvement in their children’s lives. However, the decisions made regarding child custody can also impact other elements of a divorce resolution.To achieve an outcome that best meets your needs and your children’s needs, it is important to understand how all of these different issues may affect each other.

Child Custody and Child Support

According to Texas law, the parent who will be ordered to pay child support in a divorce is usually the parent who will have less custodial time with the child according to the child custody order. If you expect that your spouse will be granted a larger share of physical custody, you should be prepared to make child support payments. The amount paid is based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s monthly income.

Child Custody and Property Division

Child custody arrangements can sometimes have an impact on the division of community property, particularly when it comes to the family home. The court may find that it is in a child’s best interests to spend the majority of their time living in the home they are accustomed to, and therefore may favor a parent with primary custody when granting possession of the home. However, Texas courts also attempt to ensure that the spouses are treated equitably when dividing property, so a noncustodial parent may be granted a larger share of other marital assets. 

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TX divorce attorneyWhile couples can get divorced at any age, people over the age of 50 are one demographic that has seen large increases in divorce rates over the past few decades. There are a variety of reasons for the rise in “gray divorce” cases, including a higher likelihood of financial autonomy for women, the ease of finding new partners through online dating, and an increased social and religious acceptance of divorce. Whether a couple has been married for a long time or has a high net worth, they may need to address some unique issues in a gray divorce that may not necessarily apply for younger couples.

Divorce Issues for Spouses Over 50

Some of the unique concerns that couples may face in a gray divorce include:

  • Child-related issues - Older couples may not necessarily need to address issues related to child custody or child support, since any children they have are likely to have reached adulthood. However, they may need to update their estate planning documents to address any decisions made about inheritances received by their children following the death of either spouse.
  • Property division - Complex property litigation may be needed to address the assets a couple has accumulated during their marriage. The family home and any other real estate property will need to be properly valued to determine how it will be divided. Couples may also need to address assets like vehicles, valuables such as artwork or jewelry, and financial accounts or investments.
  • Retirement - Spouses over the age of 50 will likely be concerned about whether they will be able to retire as planned. Any retirement savings or pension benefits that either spouse earned during their marriage will need to be divided along with other marital property, and in most cases, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be used to do so. It is also important to understand that a person can receive Social Security benefits through their ex-spouse, and this may be helpful for those who did not work or earned less than their spouse during their marriage.
  • Spousal support - Following a marriage of at least 10 years, one spouse will usually be eligible to receive support payments from their ex-spouse if they do not have the means to fully support themselves. If a couple was married between 20 and 30 years, spousal support will usually be paid for up to seven years, and for marriages of more than 30 years, spousal support may be paid for up to 10 years.

Contact Our Austin Gray Divorce Lawyers

If you are over the age of 50, you may need to address multiple different types of financial issues during your divorce, and you will want to understand your rights and your legal options. At Powers and Kerr, LLC, we can provide you with the legal representation you need, and we will help you negotiate a settlement that will allow you to maintain success throughout the rest of your life. For dedicated legal help, contact our Austin, TX high asset divorce attorneys at 512-610-6199.

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TX divorce lawyerIt can be difficult, in today’s world, to imagine living our day to day lives without having at least one credit card. While credit cards can be a good way to improve credit and allow for more flexible spending, they can also pose specific difficulties during divorce. This is especially true for couples who are involved in high asset divorces, which often involve various joint credit cards and accounts, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and both of your names are on multiple bank accounts or credit cards, it is important to speak with an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can ensure that you are not saddled with more than your fair share of debt.

The Downside of Owning Joint Credit Cards

Although there are a number of benefits to owning a joint credit card with a spouse, there are also a few downsides, which usually reveal themselves during divorce. For instance, it is not unheard of for one spouse to end up on the hook for charges that he or she did not authorize. While this may be troublesome during a marriage, it can wreak havoc on a person’s post-divorce finances, as the last thing newly divorced couples need is to be saddled with more debt.

Separating one’s credit cards from those of their spouse in the first stages of divorce is one of the best ways to avoid these types of problems. In some cases, this will require canceling the cards, although if the parties have an amicable relationship this may not be necessary. Instead, one party can just have his or her name removed from the account and the other party can request a change of account number.

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