The divorce process can be emotionally taxing, financially straining, and sometimes, confusing. It is, well, a process. Divorce can also feel like you have suffered a great loss, and because of the emotional stress, mistakes are sometimes made. Whatever the cause(s) that led to the decision of getting a divorce, you must always remember to stay firm in your emotional convictions, resort from being too controlling, but always stay flexible when it comes to negotiations even if there are age differences. This is especially true when it comes to children being involved. Divorces are especially stressful to them. Finding ways to make it easier and less stressful should always be the first priority.
What ever the case may be, here are several mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce.
Do not make the mistake of not knowing all of your marital assets and debt. This is vital when it comes to property division. Knowing all of your joint assets and collecting all of the applicable paperwork beforehand will help to expedite your divorce trial, and prevent any unnecessary guesswork or delays which will help your divorce budget. Understanding the extent of your debt will further assist in preventing a big loss in the future.
Take note and keep adequate record of any retirement funds or pensions. In some cases, the vested value of a retirement fund or pension is decided to become divisible marital property and/or may affect the awarded amount of the total property or its value based on the vested value. This is not to be confused with unvested amounts, such as, employer contributions. This will more than likely not factor into the actual value of the fund or pension.
Do not presume the results of your divorce based on the outcomes of cases you have read about, or your friends divorce outcomes. Each case is different and courts factor in the individual circumstances when it comes to rendering a final decision as far as maintenance, support orders, the division of marital assets or valued property. This is why it is very important to keep clear records of all applicable assets, savings, income, debt, etc. This is especially true when it comes to commingling personal property with joint property. Many married couples decide to put even individually owned property into both names. Even if you can prove that it was yours to begin with, it may be looked at as though you gave 50% interest to your spouse as a gift, and divided as such. This is also true when property is purchased with joint funds. Property purchased with joint finds may be looked at as joint property. keeping clear written records, and having the ability to provide these records, will help alleviate any confusion or hearsay during the proceedings.
There are other helpful pieces of information that you should know to help you avoid some critical mistakes. Facts like thinking twice before you fight against support orders too hard. Child support, for example, reduces your taxable income. It is also just plain good parenting and maintaining responsibility. Each state has its own child support guidelines that you should become familiar with so you aren’t confused during the divorce process. Also, don’t forget to get insurance to cover maintenance or child support. In the event that you are unable to work, or even death, insurance coverage will ensure that these payments continue to be made.
There is more facts and helpful tidbits of information, and a good family law attorney will help explain these things to you. Remember, choosing an experienced family law attorney who will assist you throughout most areas of your divorce is extremely important. From letting you know what you paperwork you need to produce and helping you to find mediation services, to advising you on the best course of action and providing you with plausible outcome scenarios.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.