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The Perrone Law Firm, PLLC
Texas Divorce Involving A Non-Working Spouse

What Reasons Can It Be More Challenging For a Stay-at-home Parent To Initiate A Divorce?

The number one concern for a stay-at-home parent who is considering divorce is money. Often, they need access to the marital community property accounts because they’re not earning any income. As such, it might be complicated for them to be able to access enough funds to hire an attorney to be able to file for divorce.

Some other challenges have to do with life after the separation. These challenges include what income they will use to continue to support themselves and the children (if the children remain with them). Fortunately, courts in Texas often recognize and award financial support in these cases.

Financial support could consist of things like child support or spousal support. Court-ordered support enables you to have an income stream that allows you to meet your own basic needs and continue to provide for the care of your children, even after a divorce.

How Can One Overcome Some Of These Challenges?

Planning and preparing are primary to overcoming challenges in divorce – especially if you are a stay-at-home parent. Visiting with an attorney early on helps because you can discuss your options for obtaining money from the community property estate without violating any standing orders or the law.

The best way to prepare for a divorce is to set up a consultation with a local attorney who can sit with you and discuss your options – including how to get child support or spousal support ordered.

It’s crucial to speak with professional legal counsel to understand your rights to the community property and what claim the community property might have towards the other spouse’s separate property. This way, you can protect your entitlement to assets and possessions and that the community property isn’t depleted.

An attorney can also guide you through the process and keep everything protected and preserved for the day to divide assets or assign liabilities and debts. This way, the debts and liabilities are given to the party that should be responsible for repaying them.

What Happens If My Spouse And I Had A Joint Account And I Use Money From Our Joint Account?

If you and your spouse are both signatories on a joint account, you should each have the same legal rights to the funds within that account. If the bank is willing to release those funds to either spouse, you have the right to access those funds.

Whether the funds in the bank account are community property funds or separate property funds determines whether there is a claim for reimbursement later in the case. Legally speaking, can you go to the bank and withdraw money? If so, all you’d have to do is fill out their withdrawal slip if you are on the account.

Whether you can take this money and keep it for the long term depends on what kind of asset it is and whether it belongs to the community estate or the separate property estate.

In Cases Where My Spouse Is The One That Controls All The Finances, Could I Still File For Divorce But Have Them Pay For The Divorce?

If you cannot pay for court costs, there’s an affidavit for the ability to pay expenses that you could file independently. You can also borrow money from family or friends to hire a lawyer who can help start you on the process. Then, you can always include a claim for reimbursement of attorney’s fees.

Suppose you had to borrow money to file for divorce because your ex was always in control of all the finances. In this case, you want to be sure you are the petitioner and file for divorce first. As the petitioner, you can then include a claim for your attorney’s fees so that part of the negotiations includes your ex having to pay back some or all the costs.

As A Stay-At-Home Parent Facing Divorce, Will I Receive A Fair Division Of Assets And Financial Support For My Children If I Did Not Contribute To Our Household’s Total Income?

Texas law presumes that all wages and money earned during the marriage belong to the community estate. It belongs not just to the person who went out and performed the job to make that paycheck. The income belongs to the community estate, which is of the husband and the wife. Even if, for example, the wife does not go out and earn a paycheck.

As a stay-at-home parent, you do not have to have any concerns about whether you will be able to get your fair share of the income earned during the marriage. The law already presumes that the income is part of their community estate to share, and in divorce, its community estate that is to be divided equitably between the two.

The law will not look at you and say you get nothing because you were not the person who went out and earned the paycheck. The law states that each parent is entitled to a part of the community estate. Each is entitled because while one person could go out and earn the pay, the other stayed at home taking care of their children, allowing the other to go out and work.

Are Assets Divided Fifty-Fifty In A Divorce, Or Is It Up To The Judge On How They Handle The Case?

There are instances where it may not be equitable or fair to split the estate in half. Perhaps a bad actor has done something to cause the community estate to lose value. Suppose your ex has a gambling problem, and the community estate would have been worth a lot more if they hadn’t gone out and gambled it all away.

In that situation, the court may not decide on a fifty-fifty split. The court may feel there’s a need to give the other spouse something greater than half of what’s left to make up for the harmful acts of the other spouse. But that’s more of a case-by-case basis. It’s important to know what the law prescribes so that we can try to make it as fair as possible.

Will The Working Spouse Be Required To Provide The Same Lifestyle To The Stay-At-Home Parent After A Divorce As They Had During The Marriage?

The law requires that it is necessary to receive spousal support to maintain and meet your most basic needs. However, meeting your most basic needs differs from maintaining your accustomed lifestyle.

Spousal support is about ensuring that your needs are being met and that you have enough income, whether through spousal support or a combination of spousal support and child support, to provide food, clothing, and shelter. As a result, you can’t necessarily expect to maintain the same lifestyle with the amount of support awarded after a divorce.

For more information on a Texas Divorce Involving A Non-Working Spouse, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (903) 964-1122 today.

Christina Wade Perrone

Call Now To Schedule Your Initial Consultation
(903) 964-1122
Virtual Appointments Available As Needed