A divorce restores your freedom. When done right, it should also set you up financially for the future. Sadly, many people make simple errors which end up costing them time and money, and they can end up in financial distress. Below, our Galveston family law attorney looks at a few mistakes to avoid.
Only Focusing on Your Home
For many couples, their home is their largest asset. With real estate prices exploding in Galveston, many of our clients want sole possession of the house when they divorce. This is often a mistake.
Winning sole possession of the house means you also “win”:
- Responsibility for upkeep and repairs. These can be considerable. You might end up paying over $1,000 a year for minor maintenance and $30,000 or more for major upgrades.
- Responsibility for paying property taxes and home insurance.
- Sole responsibility for any mortgage that remains on the property.
When you factor in these costs, your home could be worth a lot less than you thought. Consequently, you might want to exit your marriage with other marital assets, like retirement or investment accounts. Another option would be to sell your home immediately and split the equity in the property.
Ignoring How Assets Appreciate
In a community property state like Texas, all sorts of assets are owned by both spouses. When deciding what you want, it’s important to consider how assets will appreciate.
For example, motor vehicles will only become less valuable, even if you don’t drive them. Unless you’re going to immediately sell a vehicle, expect it to be worth only a fraction of its current value in a few years.
Similarly, a manufactured mobile home might also not appreciate that much over the next 20 years (though the land under it will, if you own it). Discuss with your attorney which assets might appreciate more moving forward.
Refusing to Compromise
Emotions run hot during divorce. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and try to fight for every advantage. For example, you might have no interest in the family pet until you realize your soon-to-be ex wants to leave with Fido. So now you decide to fight for the dog.
A successful divorce often requires some give-and-take. Compromising is key to avoiding a lengthy, drawn-out litigated divorce, which will only cost you money out of your bank account.
Of course, being flexible doesn’t mean being a doormat. You should avoid giving in to all your spouse’s demands, which is a surefire way to end up with nothing out of the divorce. Still, compromising on some things will speed the entire process along.
Hiding Income or Assets
You might have created separate savings or investment accounts and used your wages to fund them. Many people are tempted not to disclose these assets when they divorce because they don’t want a spouse to get any part of them.
Hiding assets, though, is a serious mistake. You have a duty to disclose everything. If you lie, then a judge can hammer you and award these assets to your spouse.
We Can Help
The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates can help anyone think through what marital assets they want in a divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.