Clients offer struggle with determining the assets they should seek when pursuing a divorce here in Texas. Because Texas is a community property state, in lieu of a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, debts and assets acquired during the marriage get to split 50-50 between the former spouses.
Therefore, dividing your assets fairly must be a priority. But how does one do that?
Much depends upon your life circumstances and stages
If you are leaving a dual-earner marriage where there are young children, their needs must be considered primary. For children, the parents’ divorce can be a lightning rod for childhood traumas, which could be worsened by selling the family home and forcing them to relocate away from their neighborhood friends and schools.
In a situation similar to the above, it could be worthwhile for the parent who will be the primary caretaker to remain in the home with the children. This can be done outright by buying out your former spouse’s interest in the home or making a trade-off, e.g., the country club membership or a larger portion of the retirement accounts.
Empty nesters face different struggles
If the kids are gone from the home or the couple were childless, hanging on to the house full of memories from the marriage can be financially and emotionally draining. Keeping up with household maintenance tasks becomes more challenging as people age.
Alternatively, retaining the country club membership might be important to some divorcing spouses. It can help them keep their social status among friends and provide them opportunities to meet new people at dinners and on the golf course or tennis court.
But don’t give short shrift to those retirement accounts if you are 40 or older when you split. Your earning years are shorter now. You will need as much as you can keep of those funds as you approach your retirement.
Learning more about the Texas laws governing community property can help you make the best decisions when settling your divorce.