Over recent decades, the divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 has doubled. Getting divorced at a later age or after several years of marriage can be quite complex. And a divorce later in life can cause emotional and financial challenges. There’s also less room for mistakes when it comes to divorce at this age. One wrong step and you may find yourself having to delay retirement or scramble to rebuild your savings.
Here at the Jimenez Law Firm, we help people of all ages get through their divorce while protecting their assets and best interests. We can help you avoid common mistakes when filing for divorce and common mistakes during a divorce. Our legal team is highly experienced and standing by to help you.
Common Financial Mistakes in Divorce
Some of the most common divorce mistakes are regarding money. Everyone who is considering divorce should be thinking about how they will protect their assets. Assets include both money and property. You’ve spent a lifetime accumulating your assets and protecting them is serious business. Think carefully about each of these points and how they relate to your financial assets and any real property you may have.
Money can get tight quickly. The current housing market is providing challenges for many people. It may be difficult to find real estate without emptying your bank account. And, if you’re going from two incomes down to one then you may feel the pinch sooner than you expected. It’s very important that you have a clear understanding of the big picture when it comes to your finances.
One of the best things you can do prior to your divorce is to create a list of all your debts and assets. Any marital assets should be divided equally during the divorce. It’s also a good idea to request a credit report for both you and your spouse to get an understanding of who owes what regarding your debt.
Health insurance can also be an expense you may not have had to worry about before if you were covered under your partner’s plan. In addition, your cell phone bill may increase if you are no longer on a family plan. Insurance rates may increase per person if you no longer have a multi-car policy or any sort of bundling.
In the event that you had put your career aside for the benefit of your spouse then you may be entitled to some sort of spousal support or spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony. Speak with your divorce lawyer to learn more about the Texas regulations for alimony.
Don’t delay thinking about tax strategy. While this may feel like an unusual thing to think about when you’re ending your marriage, it’s important. The financial decisions you make during the course of the divorce process can have tax consequences.
Many people feel the extra burden of taxes when they split retirement accounts. If you aren’t careful and don’t work with a financial advisor and attorney, then retirement funds may incur costly tax penalties.
It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to your income, expenses, and taxes. Depending on your circumstances, you may find yourself in a higher tax bracket which reduces your take-home pay.
3. Keeping the house
It’s not uncommon for people going through a divorce to want to keep the home they had together. Unfortunately, keeping the family home is not always the best option. This can be directly tied to understanding post-divorce expenses. It can also lead to an unrelenting battle between spouses, especially if both want the home or one wants to sell. The spouse who wants to retain the home may even refinance the home under only their name. However, there is a cost to this and ongoing expenses with the upkeep of the home, taxes, insurance, etc. You may be better off if you decide to move forward with selling the home and finding a new place to live with the profits. To get a clear understanding of your options, it’s best to speak with a financial planner and your attorney.
4. Don’t forget about debt
Some divorcing couples have a significant amount of debt that they’ve accumulated during the course of their marriage. This could include a mortgage, personal loans, car loans, and more. If you and your ex-spouse were or are considering filing for bankruptcy, then it’s a good idea to speak with your attorney and financial planner before moving forward.
Common Emotional Mistakes in Divorce
Financial matters aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to common mistakes in divorce. It’s important to do everything you can to keep a level head and a realistic view regarding the situation and your life after divorce. While it can be difficult to not make emotionally charged mistakes during divorce negotiations, it’s important to keep these things in mind.
1. Don’t act out of anger
Divorce can be hurtful. It’s not uncommon for a divorcing couple to be angry or hurt to one degree or another. Depending on the grounds for divorce, it may not even matter who files. Either party has the potential to be equally upset, struggle, and make divorce mistakes. Do your best to not let anger control your judgment.
Hiring an attorney with the education and experience in divorce law is a great way to help keep yourself in check. They can offer legal advice regarding your divorce strategy and help you avoid common mistakes in a divorce. Their divorce advice may even be able to help you gain perspective on the biggest issue in your divorce. Family law attorneys see many instances of marriage dissolution over the years. They learn what to keep their eyes out for and what divorce mistakes to avoid in order to protect your best interests.
2. Don’t isolate
It’s common for people going through a divorce to isolate themselves. They may feel ashamed, guilty, or regretful when they aren’t able to work out their differences. However, isolating yourself from your friends and family is one of the most important mistakes to avoid. Reach out to friends and family who support you with positivity. Try not to focus on negative comments from those who don’t. It’s a great idea to have a non-judgmental person you can talk to. If they’re action-oriented then that’s even better. Try new things. Experience life. Allow yourself the opportunity to work through the loss of those emotional attachments. Divorce processes can be long and drawn out depending on how quickly divorcing spouses can come to an agreement. You don’t want to have to go through that alone and you shouldn’t have to.
3. Get a team
To get you through the legal aspects of divorce it’s important you find a strong legal team. Hire a family law attorney or divorce attorney. Speak with a financial analyst or advisor. You may even want to find a third-party mediator to help with divorce mediation and the drafting of your separation agreement. Many people also seek out a qualified therapist to help them work through any potential issues that are preventing them from moving on.
4. Don’t talk badly about your spouse to your children
One of the less common mistakes of divorce in custody battles is when parents badmouth the other parent in front of the children. If you had children later in life, then it’s important that you support them through this change. At no time should your child have to bear the burden of your divorce. They are likely already struggling with the divorce case as it is a major life change for them. Not to mention the fact that the court looks down upon parents who attempt to alienate their children against the other parent. Instead, spend your parenting time enjoying your children and showing them how much they are loved. This is a difficult time and, while it may be tempting to be negative, it’s best for your child’s future that you focus on helping them through this confusing time.
If you do have minor children at home still, then you’ll want to speak with your attorney about child custody and child support as part of your divorce settlement. This should also include a parenting plan, as well as legal custody arrangements and visitation.
You Don’t Have to Deal with Divorce Alone
Your support team should include family, friends, and an experienced divorce attorney. If you’re contemplating divorce, ending your domestic partnership, going through a legal separation, or are filing for divorce, the best thing you can do for yourself is to hire a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to help you through the process as you and your spouse make these decisions.
Call the experienced attorneys at The Jimenez Law Firm today at (214) 513-0125 to learn more about what common divorce mistakes to avoid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. It is possible that the court may award a portion of one spouse’s retirement account to the other spouse. This is done through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. The QDRO is sent to the employer who is court-ordered to distribute benefits by the order. For a 401(k) account, funds are typically dispersed in 90 days or less. The court isn’t required to divide retirement accounts equally.
Yes. Most property acquired during a marriage is considered to belong to both spouses. Each spouse gets to retain their separate property that they owned prior to the marriage. Community property or marital property must go through property division in a manner that is “just and right.” Speak with an experienced and qualified divorce attorney for more information regarding equitable division.
As long as your prenup meets Texas state law requirements then it will be enforceable in a court of law. This means the prenup:
- Was signed voluntarily by both parties
- Was signed prior to the upcoming marriage
- Fully discloses financial obligations and property of both parties (unless one party waived their right to disclosure in writing)
- Has terms that are not unconscionable or does not create hardship for either party
It is important to remember that there are some things a prenuptial agreement does not cover. Those include:
- Child custody
- Child support