Alcohol and drug abuse are two of the most common reasons people get divorced. Even worse, along with substance abuse often comes infidelity, gambling problems, child neglect and physical and emotional abuse. While dealing with one or more of these issues, there’s one thing that many people fail to keep an eye on—their money—and that mistake can be a costly one.
If you’re divorcing a substance abuser, take control of your finances now
At our Fort Worth family law firm, wasting of community assets is one of the many issues we see with divorces involving substance abuse. While it doesn’t happen in every situation, we’ve had cases where the spouse with the alcohol or drug problem drains the family bank account, charges up shared credit cards or sells certain assets without permission.
They may need the money to support their addiction or waste community funds on a new love interest because they’re angry about the divorce. Some people with substance abuse problems may also have other addictions, like gambling or shopping, that they choose to support with community assets.
Learn about the common financial mistakes people make during divorce here.
Ask your divorce attorney how to lock down your finances right away
If you’re dealing with someone who isn’t making smart decisions about his or her life, your financial future (and your children’s) could be at risk. That’s why it’s important to ask your divorce attorney, “What steps can I take to protect my finances during divorce?”
Texas family courts have put provisions in place to help preserve the community estate—financial accounts, credit cards, property, businesses and other assets—through temporary orders and injunctions issued prior to divorce. Depending on the county where you reside, your divorce attorney can help you take the legal steps necessary to protect your assets. In Texas, some counties also have standing orders pertaining to financial accounts that you’ll need to navigate. Your attorney can explain how orders and injunctions may be used in your case.
Learn how substance abuse affects Texas child custody in this recent post.
It’s also important to update all passwords and beneficiaries
If you have separate accounts (separate property) that you owned prior to marriage—that are not part of the community estate—you should also take steps to prevent your spouse from getting access to them. One way he or she could get access is through a shared email account or if they know the passwords you use for email and financial accounts. Protect yourself by changing those passwords immediately. If you don’t have a separate email account, set one up right away.
Another thing people forget in the heat of divorce is to update beneficiaries on financial accounts and insurance policies. If you don’t want your future ex-spouse to benefit from your death, be sure to update beneficiaries on those accounts ASAP.
Concerned about privacy protection during divorce? Get five helpful tips here.
Hire a divorce attorney experienced in substance abuse cases
If you live in Tarrant County, our Fort Worth family law attorneys are here to help. We have extensive experience representing clients on both sides of divorce cases involving substance abuse and know how to prepare you for what’s next. To schedule a confidential, in-depth case analysis with our founder Justin Sisemore, contact our office at (817) 336-4444 or visit our contact page to connect with us online.
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