Want financial stability after a divorce in Texas? These tips can help.

Those going through a divorce are wise to focus on the entire financial picture, including retirement, to increase their odds of financial security post divorce.

Getting a divorce is never easy. Unfortunately, the split isn't just the end of a personal relationship; it is also the termination of a financial partnership. Those going through a divorce must decide how all assets will be split. This includes the family home, bank accounts and retirement assets as well as debts.

The process can be so overwhelming that it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Instead of getting caught up in a "money grab," it is important to plan for long-term financial stability as well as the immediate availability of funds. This balance is so difficult that a financial professional recently wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal addressing the issue. The biggest take away from the article: don't get too caught up in keeping the family home. In most cases, it is not wise to be so set on keeping this piece of property that you give up a large chunk of retirement assets. Also keep in mind the true cost of keeping the home. Can you make the mortgage payments on one income? How about the cost of utilities? Surprise expenses? Maintenance? Take all these factors into consideration when making a decision.

It is also wise for those going through a divorce to have a basic understanding of how state laws will impact their proceeding.

Splitting assets in Texas

Texas is a community property state. That means that property acquired during a marriage is viewed in the eyes of the court as owned equally by both parties. Property that was owned prior to the marriage is termed as separate property and is not split in the divorce. As a result, classifying property is very important.

If a couple cannot agree on how property is classified or develop a property division determination agreement on their own, the court will become involved. The court will split the property in a manner that it deems "just and right."

Part of this determination will likely include the split of retirement assets. Texas state law does provide for the split of retirement assets. This includes, but is not limited to, all pensions, annuities, individual retirement accounts and employee stock option plans. In most cases, a QDRO is needed to outline the distribution of these assets. A QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order, is a complex legal document that serves as an official order from the court. As such, it ensures that you receive the payment you are entitled to. A divorce decree alone is often not enough to receive payment from these accounts.

In addition to making sure that retirement accounts are properly accounted for and all the necessary documentation for a split is prepared, it is also important to note that the split of property can be influenced by other circumstances. In some cases, for instance, substantiated claims of fault for the failure of the marriage can lead to the award of additional assets.

Legal counsel can help

These are just a few of the issues that can arise when going through a divorce in Texas. Additional concerns can include child custody and support agreements as well as spousal maintenance. Those who are going through a split are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Texas property division attorney. This legal professional will not only guide you through the process but help to better ensure you receive a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: divorce retirement