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Importance of getting finances together before and during divorce

Many Texas couples experience money issues during and after divorces, but they can takes steps to minimize the costs, divide up their assets and make long-term financial plans. In a divorce, it is important for couples to work together as much as possible, taking their emotions out of the equation. They should seek legal assistance from attorneys to ensure that they fill out the right paperwork and go through the right steps, but they can save money during divorces by going through mediation.

People going through a divorce should also take stock of their property and finances before starting the divorce process. They can work with legal professionals and accountants to get a deeper sense of the value and taxes associated with different assets so that when property is split it, both ex-spouses receive an equal share of the assets. For an individual who will likely have to pay child support or alimony, having clear records of their own and their ex's assets may help to get a better deal in court or mediation. Before getting divorced, both partners should take stock of their changed financial situations and adjust their lifestyles and long-term plans for retirement accordingly.

To file for a divorce in Texas, an individual or couple has to have lived in the state for a certain amount of time. After couples have initially filed paperwork to start the divorce process, they generally have to wait around 60 days for a final divorce decree. A judge will make the decision more quickly if a divorce involves issues of domestic violence or abuse. The person filing for divorce has to declare a grounds, such as adultery, abandonment, separation for long period of time, cruelty or conflict of personalities, for divorce.

To start the process of divorce, one spouse has to file a petition for divorce. The other spouse is then served with divorce papers and has a certain amount of time to file a court document known as an answer. If the couple has children together, the court will make a decision on issues such as temporary child custody, support and visitation until the divorce is finalized. Spouses almost always have to go through a mediation process, with their lawyers present, to try to come up with a fair divorce settlement. If they cannot agree on terms, a judge makes a decision on issues such as child custody and division of assets based on documents and testimony provided.

Source: HG.org, "Texas Divorce Law," 2013.

Source: Alice-Echo News Journal, "Financial concerns during divorce", Paul F. Rycroft, May 24, 2013

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