Misunderstanding, mismanagement, and general disagreements can all trigger huge rifts between couples. Money and other assets are also likely to be a big part of your divorce as well.
Hiding assets is never a good idea; it is not only a violation of your obligations during a divorce, but it can end up costing you money in fines and other negative consequences. However, there are steps you can take to protect your assets that are not in violation of your obligations to the court.
Think About Where Your Money Came From
Texas is a community property state. That means that any asset you get during your marriage is going to be considered part of the marital property. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. Protecting your assets means starting with understanding what is yours alone.
If you received a gift or inheritance that was meant to just be a gift to you alone, then that will not be considered marital property even though it was acquired during the marriage. Take some time to think about where your money has come from recently—if it was meant to go to you alone, you might not need to include it in the list of property that needs to be divided.
Keep money that was supposed to go to you alone out of shared accounts, if possible.
Avoid Dipping Into Retirement Accounts
It may be tempting to cash out a portion of your retirement funds to pay for expenses as you transition into being a single person. However, this can be a huge mistake.
You often not only subject yourself to taxes and penalties, but you also may undermine an asset that could be considered a non-marital asset. In addition, you also rob yourself of the funds you need for retirement. Be sure to talk to your attorney before you cash out your retirement funds.
Keep Good Records and Gather Additional Information
Having the right information will be critical to ensure that you can get a fair distribution of assets through the divorce. You should gather up your own financial information, but you should also seek out your spouse’s information as well. If he or she has a separate bank account, for example, try to get a copy of that statement, so you have that information ahead of filing.
Consider Moving Separate Assets Ahead of Filing for Divorce
If you know that you have separate assets, you may want to move them away from your spouse’s reach before you file for divorce. This can be a tricky process, so having an attorney to help you is a good idea.
Laura Cain has over twenty years of experience as a Collin County divorce lawyer who helps clients navigate the confusing waters of the divorce process. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help.