Allocation of Finances During Temporary Orders
While you are in transition and trying to set up two separate households, the court will look to allocate the income and any other resources to keep all of the necessary bills and living expenses paid for both parties. This is usually done by ordering the spouse with the larger earning capacity to pay temporary spousal support while the parties are in transition during the Temporary Orders.
The courts focus on keeping rent, mortgage, and vehicle payments timely paid. Unsecured credit cards or debt are a last priority, and if there is not enough to go around, you may have to stop payments until you get on your feet. In order to salvage your credit, if you are unable to make the regular payments, you may want to contact the credit-card company and make alternate arrangements for payment during this time.
|2.||Protecting Yourself Financially
If your spouse has had the primary responsibility of handling the financial matters during your marriage, you may be unfamiliar with the general concepts and basic practices of general everyday accounting relative to running your household. Indeed, you may not even have any checking accounts or credit cards in your name only. This is a situation that should be remedied as soon as possible.
If you do not have your own bank account, select a bank with which to do business, and start your own bank account.
It is important that you establish credit in your own name. Your bank officer can be of assistance to you by paving the way for you to obtain a MasterCard or Visa through the bank where you have your newly established accounts. Be sure to make all payments on the date specified. Prompt payments, as well as late payments, will be reflected in your credit report.
If you remove funds which you may have from various community checking accounts and savings accounts, place these funds in a separate account designated as community property funds, but do not spend any of this money unless the judge or your attorney advises you otherwise. The transfer of funds in these circumstances is to prevent the possibility of your spouse “cleaning out the family savings”. Even so, you should be very careful not to cut your spouse off from access to funds for living expenses, and you should be careful to leave enough in the account to cover all outstanding checks. We do not advise that you move any funds without first consulting with us.
|3.||Prepare for Your Financial Future Now
If you are the spouse with the larger income, make plans to support your spouse and children pending the finalization of the divorce. Cut down on unnecessary expense. You must realize that the income that you both lived on before must now support two separate households and therefore, your standard of living will change.
If you have been a stay-at-home parent or spouse, you need to start making arrangements immediately to become employed. Unfortunately, when the case comes to a conclusion you will have to take care of yourself for the most part. Texas has recently allowed alimony under very limited circumstances: In a nutshell, you have to have been married for at least ten years and then you have to prove to the court that you are incapable of making a minimum living. Even if the Court awarded alimony, they could only order it for three years at a maximum amount of $2500.00 per month. In other words, don’t count on it.
One of You Will Have to Leave the Home
If you are the party that is going to live in the residence, let your spouse take his or her personal items and any items that he or she may need while the divorce is pending. Be fair-minded, and consider that each of you must establish a new separate household.
Follow the Court’s Temporary Orders to the Letter
HOW TO FILL OUT YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION STATEMENT
In a suit for divorce, or in a petition to modify support, you will be asked to prepare a financial information statement for the court. The following instructions will help you to prepare the income and expense statements following this section.
You will need to estimate averages of some specific items in order to present information to the court. It is best to look over the last six to twelve months and average those amounts so that your figures will be accurate. Items which are easily averaged are utilities, telephone bills, gasoline, oil, groceries, and medical bills.
GUIDE TO THE MONTHLY EXPENSE WORKSHEET
E. MEDICAL (Out of Pocket)
This is where you average uncovered doctor, dental, and drug costs including co-payments, and deductibles.
Please include an average of the cost of school supplies, tuition payments, and activity fees.
H. CHILD CARE
List your average monthly cost for babysitting or daycare so you can work.
List the average costs of movies, cable or satellite, eating out or other activities.
J. DUES (Union or Professional)
If these are taken out of your paycheck, list it here rather than on your income worksheet
Include the expenses of the pets, cell phone, credit cards, loan payments or any other items that would otherwise not be accounted for.
Anita K. Cutrer is a partner with Denton, Hoppes & Cutrer in Bedford, TX. She was named as one of the Top Attorneys in Family Law for 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas magazine.