While the short-term benefits of divorce may make sense on paper, the long-term effects could be detrimental to divorcing spouses if they fail to look at the bigger picture. Here, the family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law share some of the most common divorce mistakes and several precautions that anyone considering divorce should take.
Diving into Litigation
Attempting to initially negotiate settlement, with the assistance of attorneys, potentially through a collaborative process, or through Mediation, is frequently overlooked and can save thousands of dollars in legal fees if divorcing spouses can reach a fair settlement on several—if not all—issues regarding child custody, child support, alimony and property division, prior to pursuing litigation.
Remaining in the Dark about Shared Finances
If divorcees do not have information about their spouse’s income and assets, then they will be at an unfair advantage when settling financial issues during the divorce process. Be sure to make copies of important financial records and other information that may relate to checking accounts, credit card statements, tax returns and more. Be mindful of the money held in joint checking and brokerage accounts in addition to the cash value of life insurance policies. In the event that a spouse liquidates certain assets, be prepared to hire legal or forensic account experts to pinpoint the location and value of the assets.
Failing to Create an Updated Budget
One of the most common mistakes in divorce is failing to create a realistic, post-divorce budget. Many people often underestimate the cost of their new living expenses, especially if they have been living with a larger household income for numerous years. In addition, divorcees must be prepared in the instance where they do not receive adequate financial support after sharing initial budgets for temporary alimony.
Many divorcing spouses will either purchase their own home or absorb the ownership of their current one, and it is often easy to underestimate the financial responsibility associated with owning a house. Also, adjusting to a new living situation is always difficult—especially when children are involved. Be sure to prepare for expenses including a mortgage, property taxes, emergency repairs and general upkeep. In the event that selling a house is part of the plan, consider that property values fluctuate before putting it on the market.
Forgetting the Impact of Taxes
Consider speaking to a tax professional or qualified family law attorney about the significance and effect of property division before agreeing to a settlement. Spouses that work together at the onset of the divorce process can minimize the total amount of potential taxes during separation and after divorce. If any complicated tax issues surface, consult with an experienced family law attorney and accountant.
Neglecting the Negative Consequences of Social Media
While an individual’s social media profile may be private, all posts can be used against an individual during a divorce case; deleting posts (aside from being a potential discovery violation that could result in fees and sanctions) and blocking other individuals involved may only exacerbate a situation. Once a post has been shared, it can be accessed even after being deleted, and third party posts can still be used against someone despite the fact that it was shared by someone else. When going through a divorce, consider pausing all social media activity. Even if sharing something seems harmless, keep in mind that certain posts can be taken out of context.
Not Consulting a Quality Family Law Attorney
Divorce is a complicated process that touches on many financial and personal matters. Being aware of every aspect can save divorcing spouses a great deal of emotional and financial strife when coming to a settlement. The family law attorneys at the Rodier Family Law have years of experience guiding and defending the rights of individuals going through the process of divorce. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact Rodier Family Law for a consultation.