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Spouses must be careful to account for all assets in divorce

Overlooking assets in a Texas divorce can become a big problem. It may seem surprising, but many couples simply forget to account for all of their assets when going through a split.

When many parties to a divorce start to ponder protecting assets, they understandably tend to first think about the most obvious pieces of marital property. These usually include the family home, vehicles, any big purchases the former couple made together, vacation property or recreational vehicles and maybe even the family pet. After considering these tangible items, they will then usually look to financial matters, such as investments, business assets and bank accounts.

However, one significant asset that spouses sometimes forget about is the other party's retirement account. Depending on several different factors, one spouse may have the right to portions of the other spouse's retirement accounts after divorce. Determining this, however, may not be a simple task. Sometimes asking the other spouse about their accounts can be a contentious situation, and in some cases spouses may not be entirely forthcoming about how much is in their accounts and what the terms are regarding divorce.

It may be possible to contact a spouse's employers directly for the information, although some employers may request a court order be produced first. Making matters more complicated is the fact that different retirement accounts can be subject to different laws. For instance, federal level guidelines usually govern pensions and 401(k)s, while IRAs are subject to state laws.

Another important thing to know about retirement accounts is that while many of them are subject to division in a divorce, the funds are usually restricted to money that was accrued during the marriage, not before or after.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The #1 most overlooked divorce asset," Daniel Sentell, Oct. 2, 2014

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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