Recently on the website Moving Forward Through Divorce, there was an article entitled “6 Smart Things to Do Before the Money Disappears.” This article chronicles financial actions a person should take in preparation for a divorce and contains useful information for divorces in Texas.

Financial preparation is crucial prior to filing for divorce in Texas. It is important to have knowledge about all financial accounts owned by you and your spouse. The article recommends having copies of at least the last three prior year’s tax returns accessible. Additionally, printing a copy of your own credit report can aid you in knowing exactly what outstanding debts are out there in your name. I advise all my clients at the beginning of the divorce process to run a credit check on themselves. More times than not my client will then become aware of a debt in their name that they had no idea about and which had been opened by their own spouse.

The article also recommends having your own credit card available in your own name. Many times at the beginning of the divorce process, one spouse will cancel the only credit card accessible to their spouse. However, having your own credit card takes away the financial control a spouse could potentially exert over you.

Finally, there are two actions that this article recommends a person take in order to maintain privacy. In Texas, a person should accomplish these tasks prior to either spouse filing for divorce as they are usually prohibited during the divorce process. The first would be to open your own bank account in your own name at a new bank. Use this account to set aside financial reserves for the divorce process. The second action to be taken would be to change your passwords, PIN numbers, and obtain a new email address. I recommend you do not use the family computer as it may be possible for your spouse to access your accounts and information.

Implementing these actions will better serve you when going through the divorce process and will expedite your ability to move forward financially.
 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.