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Even in mediation, property division requires careful planning

Sometimes, when Texas individuals decide that divorce is the only way forward, they may want to get it over and done with as soon as possible. However, divorce is not something to be rushed into, and careful consideration and planning are required for property division and other issues to avoid post-divorce financial instability. When a marriage is dissolved, expenses increase because there will be two households to maintain, two mortgages or rents to pay and utility bills will be double while the combined income of the two parties will remain the same.

Texas is a community property state, and each spouse will be entitled to half of all the assets they acquired while they were married. This process of property division may need professional assistance because one spouse may be landed with assets that require substantial amounts of money to maintain them. For instance, agreeing to keep the house as part of the settlement may end up a liability because of maintenance and other costs. Some couples choose to sell the family home and split the income from the sale.

A tax adviser may help in assessing the tax implications when it comes to dividing retirement accounts and determining the most appropriate way in which to do this. Each spouse must also consider the tax consequences of alimony. While alimony is tax deductible for the person paying it, the party who receives alimony will be taxed on the amount. Guidance may also be necessary when child custody is calculated, and although it is determined by the court, the custodial parent may benefit from having an idea of how much can be expected and whether it will be sufficient.

Although divorce mediation is a more cost effective and quicker option for divorces in which parties can negotiate settlement agreements, both parties will benefit from retaining the services of respective legal representatives. An experienced Texas divorce attorney can explain the procedures and the legal rights of the client. He or she can also look over the mediation agreement and provide valuable input about property division and other related issues to ensure the best interests of the client and any children are protected and that the negotiated agreement complies with legal requirements.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Divorce is another life event that requires careful planning", Jill Schlesinger, Feb. 24, 2016

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Allen, TX 75013
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