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Houston Family Law Attorneys > Resources > Divorce information for the lower-income earning spouse in Texas

Divorce information for the lower-income earning spouse in Texas

Divorce information for the lower-income earning spouse in Texas

For a stay-at-home parent or a lower-income earner, contemplating finances after divorce can be a frightening thought. However, there are steps a person can take to reduce financial risk even if the other spouse makes more money or is the sole breadwinner. While often there must be a lifestyle change after divorce, taking steps to secure a reasonable financial future is possible.

Texas is a “community property” state, meaning that the law treats marital property as belonging to both spouses. As such any property owned by either spouse during the marriage can be divided between the spouses in any way. However, the court will not divide separate property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage.

Texas law does not require an even split of community property. When considering a division of assets, Texas law may look to the earning capacity of each spouse, who will be the primary caregiver of minor children and the education and health of each spouse. The court will also consider the amount of separate income.

Obtain financial information

It is vital to establish a record of assets and debts. Getting a credit report may be a good first step to understanding debt information. Obtaining credit card statements and monthly bills will help to establish financial obligations. Documentation regarding mortgage information, car titles and retirement account statements, among others, are also essential to a fair distribution of assets.

Envision a living situation

Those contemplating divorce should consider where and how they want to live. If a stay-at-home parent will want primary custody, for example, he or she will want to consider if the marital home will be affordable after divorce. Resolving issues such as this may require the assistance of a financial planner. In addition, there can be restrictions on how far away the custodial parent can move from the non-custodial parent. Because of the upheaval a divorce can bring on a family, resolving the living situation as soon as possible can provide a degree of relief for children and exes alike.

Child support

The amount of child support is based on the income of the paying parent. If one parent has stayed at home in order to care for children and therefore has less or no income, the court will factor that in for both child custody matters and in establishing child support.

Alimony and spousal maintenance

Child support is meant for the sole use of the children. Alimony, on the other hand, is an agreed-upon one-time or periodic payment between the spouses. It is most often used as an exchange of assets, for example one spouse keeping a large asset (like a home or business) in exchange for alimony.

A court can also order spousal maintenance in certain circumstances. The spouse receiving maintenance must have been married at least 10 years and must not be able to provide for minimum reasonable needs.

An attorney can help

Divorcing spouses concerned with finances after divorce should contact an experienced family law attorney to guide them through the process and protect their financial future.

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