Seven Divorce Don’ts

Avoiding the most common mistakes in divorce will help you to save both time and money and reduce stress as well. Understanding both the long-term & short-term impacts of settlement options will help you to make educated decisions. Those decisions will help you build a more secure future.

If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, knowing what NOT to do can be a big help. The least expensive and emotionally painful divorces are the ones where both parties used common sense and avoided the following seven critical mistakes.

1 Don’t make legal and financial mistakes based on emotion.

Sure, you are in pain right now, and consulting a therapist, counselor or pastor can help you cope with your emotional pain. After that, you can focus on the legal and financial issues that must be negotiated.  Although you are in emotional pain, do not let it influence your decisions.

2 Don’t negotiate without all the important information and documents.

Allowing your former spouse to withhold or use financial data as a weapon against you may cause you to receive a bad settlement. Although the discovery process can be lengthy, expensive and unpleasant, attorneys can force disclosure if needed. Having all the information results in a better settlement.

3 Don’t assume you know the real value of your assets.

With some assets such as checking and savings accounts, you can take the value on the statement. However, when valuing assets such as investment accounts, retirement accounts, government, military or teachers pensions and rental property there are different methods for valuation. The tax consequences also need to be considered. Defined benefit pensions are usually worth many times more than the contributions and earnings value shown on the statement. It pays to dig deep and find the true values.

4 Don’t think that the divorce process must be adversarial.

As hard as it is for you to believe right now, divorce can be a “win-win” situation. Divorce horror stories abound but, the true horror stories are the ones where the husband, wife, or both spent their children’s college savings paying their attorneys. There are Alternative Dispute Resolution options which can help couples resolve settlement issues.

5 Don’t think that divorce must be expensive.

There is a real misconception that divorce must cost $15,000 or more per person. Divorce becomes expensive when the spouses can’t work together. When spouses cooperate, they can do much of the basic groundwork themselves and use attorneys for advice and processing the divorce documents.

6 Don’t go it alone.

Just as you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, don’t do your divorce on your own. It makes sense to seek the specialized knowledge and experience of divorce professionals, such as mediators, collaborative attorneys and divorce financial professionals. Using financial neutrals or mediators for crafting the settlement strategy and attorneys for drafting the legal agreements will be less expensive and can save you from making big mistakes.

7 Don’t lose control of the process. 

If you haven’t been through the divorce process before, it can be a very complicated and frightening experience. You should become educated and act to help yourself and the professionals who assist you in the process.  A proactive approach will help you make better decisions and negotiate a settlement agreement that is fair to all involved.

Avoiding these Seven Deadly Sins of Divorce will help you avoid potential pitfalls, empower you and help reduce the emotional and financial costs of divorce.  There is life after divorce and the actions you take now will help you build a stronger foundation for the future.

Let us help. Call Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors LLC and start getting the help you need.


About the author:

Bev Banfield is a CPA, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and founder of Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors. The Denver-based company was established to help divorcing couples more easily and equitably separate their finances. Banfield has more than 30 years of experience in financial analysis, budgeting, and auditing.  Contact us for more information at (303) 482-1726 or Connect with me on LinkedIn