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Dispelling some myths about divorce and money

Myths are by definition mistaken beliefs. Like many things in life, divorce is rife with myths. If they are not dispelled, it makes things worse when a couple does decide to split.

One of the particular areas of family law where myths linger is in divorce and finances. Property division, asset valuations, retirement planning, tax considerations all need to be brought into focus in divorce. The help of experienced legal counsel is always recommended for both parties to be sure the processes occur fairly and equitably. The first step is to root out mythical expectations.

Adultery means more money for the offended spouse

It might have once been the case that proof of infidelity might influence spousal payments. Today, however, the ideal most states strive for, including Texas, is to avoid using the divorce process as a punitive tool. Whatever the reason for the dissolution of the marriage, the goal of the court is to fairly divide money, debts and assets between the spouses.

If the costs of a spouse's infidelity were paid for with comingled funds, a judge might order them repaid to the wronged spouse, but that's not done as a matter of punishment.

A nonworking spouse will get alimony for life

Lifetime support, even for a spouse who never worked during the marriage, is not guaranteed. Significant support might be granted to give the nonworking spouse a chance to find work or get retraining. But it is usually for only a limited time.

Banked money in my name will be mine post divorce

Your name on an account does not necessarily mean the funds in it are yours. If the money was acquired during the marriage, it's community property and subject to division. If it was acquired prior to marriage or by inheritance, or otherwise separately received, it could be excluded from division.

My spouse's debts won't be my responsibility in divorce

Comingled money comes into play again in this instance. Debts incurred prior to marriage are not a shared responsibility, but those rung up during the marriage are and could be split 50-50.

Marriages don't always live up to expectations. Divorces can hold the same risk. However, a skilled attorney can help deliver optimal solutions.

Source: WiseBread.com, "4 Myths About Divorce and Money, Debunked," by Dan Rafter, July 11, 2017

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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.

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