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How lower-earning women should protect themselves in divorces

Women in Texas who earn less than their husbands should consider how the property is divided in their divorces carefully. By doing so, they may avoid making costly mistakes.

When women are negotiating with their husbands about how to divide the property, it might seem fair at first to agree to a 50 percent split. However, with retirement accounts for couples who include husbands with substantially greater incomes and earnings histories, it might make more sense to work out agreements in which the wives take a larger share of the husband's retirement accounts. This is because the husband may be able to replenish his retirement account more quickly than a lower-earning spouse.

When there are investment accounts to divide, it is important for both spouses to consider the tax implications they carry both now and in the future. This can help couples to divide the assets in the most tax-advantaged way. Some types of retirement accounts will require a qualified domestic relations order to be prepared so that early withdrawal penalties and taxes are avoided. Women might also want to have life insurance policies on their husbands just in case they pass away before the QDRO for the retirement accounts go into effect. Women may also want to plan for their children's financial future in the event of their passing.

There are many financial complexities that must be considered in a high-asset divorce. A lower-earning spouse might want to get help from a family law attorney as well as a financial advisor in order to make certain that his or her financial interests are protected. An attorney might help a client with negotiating the best possible settlement that might be available for them. An attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement in an alternative setting rather than litigating the matter through court.

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