4 Serious Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a Divorce
You have chosen to go your separate ways and file for divorce. This time can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, and you may feel that all you want to do is get the divorce done and over with. However, during a divorce you make decisions, and sometimes mistakes, that will affect your life years into the future. Here are 4 common mistakes often made during divorce, and how to avoid them.
Failing to understand finances
Whether you have your own job, or you stay at home and take care of the house and family, failing to understand the full extent of your finances can put you into a difficult situation. One way that you can protect yourself is to gather financial documents such as tax records, bank statements, credit card bills and so forth. This will help you understand how much income you and your spouse are making and where that money seems to be going. Are you in debt? How much? What are your financial assets? Do you have retirement accounts? What accounts are in your name, and which are not?
After collecting that information, be on the lookout for signs that your spouse may be hiding money or assets. According to Forbes, these signs include the following:
- Spouse has a separate address for bills
- Spouse will not share online passwords or account information
- Financial programs suddenly get deleted
- Spouse claims a reduction in pay
- Spouse starts buying expensive items
- Spouse tries to get you to sign legal documents without letting you read them
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding money or assets from you, you can request a special court order to freeze those assets. You can also conduct your own investigation to uncover where that money is going.
Not planning for the long-term
When negotiating a divorce settlement, you need to think about what your long-term needs might be. For example, maybe you want the family home but have you considered how you are going to take care of it? What will you do if the roof develops a leak or a boiler goes out? Can you afford the home insurance, the mortgage and regular maintenance costs? If not, it might be better in the long-term to sell the large house and downsize to something that is less expensive so you’re not losing financial ground.
Fox News states that in a survey conducted among divorce attorneys, lying is one of the top four mistakes you should absolutely avoid making. Courts and judges take lying seriously and if you are caught lying about anything, your credibility in the divorce proceeding will suffer. This can make it difficult for you when it comes to finances, child support, custody and visitation, or any other dispute that arises.
People are human and make mistakes. While you may not want to admit to an extramarital affair or that you received a bonus, telling the truth can prevent a lot of other problems later on.
Not changing your estate plan
A joint estate plan works well for a married couple but can cause all kinds of problems once the marriage is dissolved. In the midst of all the changes that come with divorce, this document often gets forgotten until something happens further down the road when it may be too late or more difficult to fix. To avoid this, create a new estate plan (including a living will, appointing guardians and powers of attorney, and change your beneficiaries) before the divorce is final.
Without thinking through things carefully, mistakes can easily be made. Therefore, it may be a good idea to meet with a divorce attorney and discuss your strategy to avoid problems and ensure a fair resolution.