Couples in Texas may spend a long time negotiating or litigating their divorces. Their final divorce decree may end litigation or negotiations on the matter for married couples in Texas. But, it is the beginning of ensuring the proper division of the couple’s assets.
A spouse should close any joint checking account, savings or investment accounts and open their own individual account. Account transfers must be performed in accordance with the decree.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be written to receive money from a former spouse’s qualified retirement plan. QDROs are judicial judgments for payment of funds from a retirement plan for child support, marital property rights or spousal support to a spouse, children or other dependents.
A spouse who keeps the family home may need to undertake the steps contained in the decree concerning the home. This may include closing home equity lines of credit or removing the spouse from the mortgage or title.
It is also important to review the titles for other personal property such as automobiles, motorcycles and boats. If a spouse was awarded this property, the other spouse’s name must be removed from the titles. Otherwise, both spouses will have to be involved in any transactions involving this property even for years after the divorce.
A spouse should also monitor any qualified tuition plan accounts if they are not listed as an account owner. The spouse should obtain copies of statements to keep informed of deposits or withdrawals. A divorce decree usually directs how unused funds should be split after the children graduated from college.
A spouse should also continue to follow earnings from businesses, notes, stock options and restricted stock units and seek regular updates on these items. This may continue for many months or years after the divorce.
While reviewing these matters, it is essential to remember to change the beneficiaries on retirement plans, pension plans, IRAs and life insurance policies, except where the divorce decree states that former spouse continues to be a beneficiary. Otherwise, a former spouse may inherit this money regardless of what is contained in a will. Likewise, powers of attorney or health care directives may need revised, or a former spouse may continue to have important powers under these agreements.
An attorney may provide guidance on addressing asset division in the divorce decree. They can also provide important advice on dealing with these matters after the marriage ends.
Source: The Street, “Post-divorce money tips to prepare for the next stage in life,” Cindy Turkington, Feb. 21, 2018