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Avoid commingling your assets if you face divorce

When a couple chooses to get married, their assets and liabilities also get married, so to speak, unless the couple uses a prenuptial agreement to protect themselves and their property from potential legal issues. Here in Texas, our community property guidelines make divorce much more complicated in some cases, because couples must divide their marital property equally, without much flexibility.

This brings into question assets that may be considered otherwise separate. For instance, in many cases, an inheritance is not considered marital property. However, that may not matter much to the court if the inheritance is virtually indistinguishable from other assets. In order to keep assets separate, they must remain actually separated.

This can get tricky when spouses commingle their assets, meaning to use them for family purposes, or to place multiple assets in a single account. If, for instance, part of an inheritance goes into a checking or savings account used for family expenses, then it gets difficult to distinguish them from each other. In this way, it is more likely that a court may count the inheritance as a marital asset to divide in divorce rather than a separate asset for one spouse. If you want to keep certain assets separated, be very careful not to mix them with any other assets, even if it doesn't seem complicated at the time.

Don't put off building a strong legal strategy to keep yourself protected if you believe that divorce is on the way. The sooner you build a strategy, the sooner you can enter the divorce process confidently and make the changes that you need to live a healthier, happier life on the other side.

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