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Be informed prior to engaging in divorce negotiations

The summer season does not see a lot of divorce filings in Texas and other states. The focus on filing for a divorce naturally increases in the fall season. At that time, summer travel is over and the children are back in school. For those who are preparing to undertake such unknown waters, here are a few basic tips that may be of assistance in getting a feel for divorce negotiations.

One pitfall to avoid is the common attitude by some spouses that says that they must obtain full ownership and possession of the marital home. It is true that the reasoning makes some sense where there are minor children who would benefit from that certain unbroken chain of continuity. However, where the available assets and income do not justify maintaining such a high maintenance overhead, trying to beat the mathematics of the situation may prove to be a stressful venture.

With only one paycheck, even though it may be supplemented by additional support, there just may not be sufficient funds to pay the variety of substantial bills due on the home. It is also no bargain to take the home and give up substantial investment accounts and retirement vehicles that may be valued on an equal level with the house. Equal value does not help to pay for the maintenance expenses on the home, including what may be an unwieldy monthly mortgage payment.

It also helps to analyze, hopefully assisted by a qualified financial planner, the tax ramifications associated with each asset that is on the negotiating block. Stay ahead of the process by knowing what the relative costs and benefits of each asset will be in one's future budgetary calculations. Another consideration involves receiving support and alimony payments.

Texas law generally does not compel the estate of a deceased former spouse to continue paying such funds established during divorce negotiations. It therefore can be important to put in place a life insurance policy on the former spouse as part of a settlement agreement. This will cover the hardships that may follow the former spouse's untimely demise and the abrupt cessation of longstanding payments.

Source: cnbc.com, "When it comes to divorce, not all assets are equal", Sarah O'Brien, Sept. 22, 2017

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