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The importance of being assertive during a divorce

To reduce some of the stress in the divorce process, some Texas couples compromise as they work through issues around property division and spousal and child support. While it's a good idea to avoid deliberately putting up roadblocks to a friendly resolution, people should also make sure that they still protect themselves financially along the way.

The problem is that unexpected events could derail even the best-laid plans. For example, one couple worked out a shorter-term agreement for alimony, but then the spouse receiving support got colon cancer. They were able to reach an amicable agreement in which the other ex took the children for a few months and continued with support payments. However, he was not legally obligated to do so. The mother in another divorcing couple wanted to reduce conflict about child support, but she found that without a legally binding agreement, she struggled to collect.

One common financial mistake is keeping the home in exchange for other assets because it's good for the children. However, ex-spouses may be unable to afford a home. Not fully grasping the financial situation or failing to communicate clearly with one another about finances are also common errors.

Soon-to-be exes in Texas should be aware that they live in a community property state. This means that each spouse is entitled to half of the marital assets. Therefore, a lower-earning or stay-at-home spouse may be able to claim half of a business, a retirement account or other assets. Dividing a business can be a particularly complicated process. If the owner does not have the liquidity to buy out the other spouse, a payment plan may be needed. A family law attorney could help a client with such issues.

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