Should I Keep the Same Financial Planner for My Divorce?

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Should I Keep the Same Financial Planner for My Divorce?

Should I Keep the Same Financial Planner for My Divorce?

Should I Keep the Same Financial Planner for My Divorce?Getting a divorce is never pleasant. There are money, property, and possessions to be divided. There are laws that govern how some possessions must be divided. If you or your spouse have a pension or stock options that won’t be available for some time, how do those get handled?

If you have children, you’ll need to plan for their future as well. What is the best way to do this and still take care of their needs today? All these questions can be answered by a financial planner.

About Financial Planners

Some people already have financial planners. A financial planner helps their clients manage their finances and work towards long-term financial goals. They may help clients keep their spending under control or assist with investment planning.

If you and your spouse already have a financial planner, you may want to consider hiring a new financial planner for yourself. There are a few reasons having a financial planner of your own can be beneficial.

  • Financial planners often specialize. If you’re engaging a financial planner in contemplation of your divorce, you can look for a planner who specializes in divorce. A divorce financial planner will know the Texas laws about divorce and marital and separate property.
  • A conflict of interest could arise between you and your current planner if they have an unwitting bias in your spouse’s favor.
  • Fresh eyes on your finances may help spot any trouble issues that you or even your current planner may not have noticed.

If you don’t have a financial planner before your divorce, you may not be sure what a financial planner can do for you. Dividing up the property is what the attorney does, right?

Help During the Divorce

Should I Keep the Same Financial Planner for My Divorce?Texas is a community property state. This means that any property acquired during marriage is the property of both spouses equally. Any property acquired before the marriage or after separation is the property of the individual. But what if you have a pension, and you married before your pension vested? What if your spouse has stock options that haven’t matured yet?

Divorce financial planners can help determine who is entitled to what money and can make suggestions about how spouses could even out their assets so that neither is left with too much or too little.

For instance, if one spouse has a pension that will pay off when they retire, the judge will determine who is entitled to what percentage of the pension and issue a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) that will split the pension whenever it finally pays out. A financial planner can help the parties calculate values and determine if it would be better to allow that spouse to keep the full pension and give the other spouse an alternate cash payment now. If the parties can agree about the disposition of their assets, the judge wouldn’t have to make the determination, giving the parties more control over what occurs.

Help After the Divorce

A financial planner can help you budget your finances and any awarded maintenance in a way that could augment your income.

  • Texas does not award alimony. The court will award support under certain conditions if a spouse can show they are unable to provide for their “minimum reasonable needs” while looking for employment.
  • A financial planner can help you with budgeting for the first few months after the divorce while you’re getting back on your feet and relearning how to run a household on a single income.
  • If you need help with future financial goals—paying off your home or starting a college fund—now is the best time to make plans for those goals: while you are reestablishing your spending habits.

Having someone who has been with you during the divorce will make talking about and planning for these goals much easier after the divorce and could help you going forward.

Contact Us

At Adams Law Firm, we want you to thoroughly understand all your assets and the ways that asset division could equitably be accomplished. If you have been thinking about divorce and believe you need a financial planner, call the Katy asset division attorneys of Adams Law Firm at (281) 391-9237. We will discuss the benefits of getting your own financial planner and discuss how having one would be of benefit to you during your divorce negotiations. Call our attorneys today.

How Are IRAs Divided in Texas?

How Are IRAs Divided in Texas?In Texas, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are considered to be community property. This means that the property is communal and owned equally by both partners in the marriage. There are exceptions, such as a portion of the account that was established by one spouse prior to the beginning of the marriage.

Since Texas is a community property state, this determines the way that assets are divided in a divorce. Both partners in the marriage legally own the shared assets together, regardless of which spouse’s income funded the assets. This applies to IRAs as well. There are several types of IRAs, including a Roth IRA, a SEP IRA, a SIMPLE IRA, or a traditional IRA. These types vary in their stipulations and requirements, and they may offer tax-free or tax-deferred contributions and growth.

In Texas, the portion of an IRA that is considered community property is the amount that was added to the IRA during the marriage. These additions may be the result of direct monetary contributions or the result of growth in the form of interest. Since an IRA may not be jointly held, one spouse is the owner of the account. Even if the other spouse does not have their own retirement account, that spouse is still legally entitled to the IRA of the other spouse since it is considered community property.

However, this is not true of the portion of the IRA for which the contributions were made before the marriage began. This part of the IRA would be considered separate property, owned only by the originating spouse. The spouse who is claiming a portion of the IRA as separate property must prove to the court that they are legally the sole owner of that portion of the account. The interest that the IRA accrued during the marriage would likely be community property. Any interest that accrued prior to the marriage would be the separate property of the originating spouse.

Community property may be divided by an agreement between the two spouses. If they are able to agree, the court will likely accept their agreement for the division of property. In the event that the two partners are unable to reach an agreement, the court will divide the assets in a manner that is just and fair. This does not necessarily mean that the division will be a 50/50 split of each individual asset. For example, rather than liquidating an IRA to then divide the resulting cash, one spouse may be awarded the full retirement account. If that occurs, the other spouse would likely receive other assets that have a comparable value.

In the event that an IRA would be divided or liquidated as part of the divorce, an order must be explicitly included in the divorce decree or settlement agreement to that effect. The order would state specifically how the IRA would be divided and would include details, such as names and amounts. When this information is included in the divorce decree or settlement agreement, the original account holder will avoid a taxable distribution in which they may be subject to penalties for early withdrawal.

A consideration, in this case, would be the liquidity of the investments in the IRA. If these investments are not easily sold, then the effective value of the IRA may be less than the amount of the retirement account appraisal.

How Are IRAs Divided in Texas?If you are going through a divorce, you need a strong legal team to take care of the details and make sure that you get to keep what is legally yours. If your marriage involves retirement accounts of any kind, you may be entitled to a portion of the balance, whether or not the account is in your name.

Call the Adams Law Firm today at (281) 391-9237 to discuss your case with one of our divorce attorneys. We know that this is an emotional and draining time, and we are here to support you and make your life easier. Our firm’s values mean that we treat each person who comes to us for help with compassion and individualized attention. All situations are different, and if you weren’t going through a difficult time, you likely wouldn’t need us. We can help you successfully navigate your divorce and preserve the assets that are rightfully yours. We will fight for you so you can leave this emotional experience behind and get back to living the life you deserve.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, call (281) 391-9237 today to speak with one of our divorce attorneys about your case. We’re here for you.

What Is the Difference Between Marital Property & Separate Property?

Texas community property laws are the laws that dictate how property and debts are to be divided up when a couple goes through a divorce. These laws can often be confusing, but it’s important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who will advocate for you and help you get a fair share of your marriage’s assets. You may come across the terms “marital” or “community” property and “separate” property. Understanding what these terms mean is important to helping you end your marriage with a favorable outcome.

Community Property in Texas

Known as marital or community property, this refers to the property that you and your spouse have acquired during the course of your marriage, with some exceptions. Texas is considered a community property state, but that doesn’t mean that you can expect a perfectly even split of your assets. You can expect that the court will be more interested in providing an equitable and fair division.

One way that Texas courts determines the status of contested property is the “inception of title” rule, which relies on the property’s status at the time it was acquired. The state considers all property (with the below exceptions) gained by either spouse during the course of the marriage to be community property. It is on you or your spouse to otherwise prove that a piece of property is separate property.

Separate Property in Texas

According to Texas laws, separate property is any property owned or claimed before the marriage, and property acquired after the marriage by gift, devise, or descent. This means that there are some pieces of property that don’t fall under equitable distribution.

Separate property may include:

  • Birthday gifts
  • Family heirlooms
  • Property or assets purchased before the marriage
  • Inheritances
  • Personal injury awards (unless the recovery is for lost wages, medical bills, or other shared property)

Still Have Questions? Ask Our Katy Divorce Lawyers – (281) 764-6087

If you’re considering a divorce, you need an experienced legal team on your side. With more than 35 years of experience behind us, the Adams Law Firm is well-equipped to handle even the most complex divorce cases. Don’t wait to get the knowledgeable legal counsel and caring client service you deserve. Our Katy divorce attorneys are ready to address your concerns, answer your questions, and advocate for your best interests today.

Contact our team by calling (281) 391-9237.

Who Gets Fido? Pet Custody After a Divorce in Texas

Our pets are often beloved members of our family, but legally, our four-legged friends are considered property in the State of Texas. This can lead to some serious stress and conflict if you and your spouse end your marriage. Fortunately, many judges are pet owners themselves or understand the deep ties you may have with your pet, so they may be willing to consider your pet’s custody more carefully and rule in favor of the pet’s best interests. Here are some things you should know about pet custody during a Texas divorce.

Write Down Your Custodial Wishes for Your Pet

If you can’t stand the thought of your pet leaving your side, you may want to write down your wishes for their custody. This information can be included in a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or partition agreement. If you’ve already married, a postnuptial agreement can also help.

In child custody cases, the judge will always consider the best interests of the child over the parents’ desires. When it comes to pet custody, however, the law only allows for pets to be treated as property. The judge will need to first determine whether the pet is separate property, belonging to one spouse, or marital property, belonging to both spouses.

If the pet was purchased or adopted before the marriage, it is likely to be considered separate property, and custody will be awarded to the owning spouse. If the pet was gained during the course of the marriage, the pet will be considered community property, and the custody of the pet will need to be determined with the rest of the marriage’s assets and property. If this is the case, the judge is likely to evaluate the roles both spouses play in caring for the pet and obtaining the pet.

What Factors Will Judges Use to Decide Custody?

As with any complex property settlement case, the judge will need to determine the animal’s status as community or separate property before proceeding. If the pet is community property, the judge will delve deeper into the matter. Here are some things judges may consider to determine which spouse is better prepared to care for the pet:

  • Which spouse has been the primary caretaker?
  • Which spouse meets the daily needs of the pet?
  • Has either spouse neglected or abuse the pet in any way?
  • Which spouse has the more pet-friendly work and travel schedule?
  • What are the custody arrangements for any children, and are they close to the pet?

The judge will strive to place the pet in the best household, where its needs will be met properly. If the children of the divorcing couple share a bond with the pet, the judge is likely to place the pet with the spouse who has primary custody of the children.

If there is more than one pet in a divorce, there is a good chance that the judge will split up the pets and award each pet to the spouse who is better equipped to prepare for that pet. Dogs may be awarded to the spouse who will be home more often, while a cat may be given to the spouse who works more or travels more.

Pet Visitation

The judge will not award a visitation schedule for your pet. Unlike your human children, your fur-children cannot legally have a binding visitation agreement determined by a judge. What a judge can do, however, is enforce any arrangements that the spouses can agree upon. Explicit terms spelled out in an agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, can help simplify these issues.

How You Can Protect Your Custody

It can be stressful if you are unsure of your pet’s fate. Laying out your wishes in another agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement, can help simplify these matters. If you don’t have such agreements in place, you’ll need to take steps to prove you are the spouse who should have continued custody of the animal.

You will need to provide evidence that demonstrates your commitment to the animal or animals in your household. This evidence can include:

  • A pet license or adoption application with your signature
  • An affidavit from your veterinarian that states you are the person who tends to the pet’s medical needs
  • Receipts from pet supply stores, grooming, and other pet services with your payment information.
  • Witness statements from neighbors, other dog-park visitors, or friends who can speak to your dedication to your pet’s care and wellbeing.

Contact Our Katy Divorce Attorney – (281) 764-6087

If you’re facing a divorce, you shouldn’t face it alone. At the Adams Law Firm, we’re committed to supporting our clients in every way possible through the divorce process. Our Katy divorce attorneys have more than 35 years of experience under our belts, so you can trust that we’re ready to assist you with your divorce case—no matter how complex.

Begin your case with a consultation. Contact us at (281) 391-9237 today.

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