NOTE: An expanded version of this article is now available on The Huffington Post’s Divorce Section here.
In Dallas, one of the plastic surgery capitals of the U.S., you would be surprised to find out that there is no Texas case law that addresses how to divide the debt of cosmetic surgery.
There is also some evidence indicating that plastic surgery could lead to divorce. One figure suggest that 40% of women who undergo plastic surgery end up divorcing the spouse to whom they were married before the surgery (http://www.beautynova.com/plastic-surgery/divorce.htm).
Conversely, there has been talk about “revenge surgery,” a post-divorce attempt to send a message to the ex to show them what they lost. To view a good story about this issue, click here. Post-divorce vengeance plastic surgery is on the rise according to the Huffington Post.
Women — should you try to fit in the surgery before you lose access to the credit card? No.
And men … No, you may not repossess breast implants. They are an unsecured asset. And the face lift and tummy tuck will also stay with the party who braved the knife. However, as the divorcing spouse who wants to recover their money spent for plastic surgery, there are some interesting questions to ponder:
- Was the surgery planned together? Did husband or wife campaign for spouse to get cosmetically altered?
- Did the other spouse enjoy the benefits of the surgery? Use your imagination.
- Was the surgery paid from community funds or separate property? Did mom use separate property inheritance, was it a “gift” for Mother’s Day or a 40th birthday present?
- Is the surgery paid in full in cash or by a line of credit (unsecured)? If paid with credit card, it is easier to make an argument that the party who benefited must pony up the cash to pay the debt off as the other spouse can’t carry around the trophy ex nor ensure that the ex will pay this unsecured debt and destroy his/her credit.
While the “mommy makeover” is all the rage in Dallas and surrounding counties, this issue comes up more than you would imagine. And if you are on the fence about whether to get a procedure post-divorce, bear in mind that most surgeons recommend to wait 6 months to one year before undergoing surgery (see this article).
So, before you complete your Inventory and Appraisement, make sure that you list any plastic surgery and debts that stem from it to assess the “just and equitable division of assets.”
Remember: the asset that the estate paid to enhance is no longer yours.