Although an emotional process, a logical outlook while going through the minutiae of the divorce can help reduce the risk of any surprises once the divorce is finalized.
How to put the emotion aside? Avoid the mistakes of others.
One way to approach the process logically is to learn from the mistakes of others. Three common divorce errors to avoid include:
- Getting distracted. You can better ensure a fair settlement by paying attention to the details. Gather documents to account for each asset and liability. If possible, make yourself a checklist of all the assets and liabilities that are part of the marital property. Check off each one as you get the documents needed to account for the asset during the divorce.
- Failing to look ahead. Take a step away from your current situation and look ahead. Do you or your future ex-spouse have business interests? How will the divorce agreement address these interests? Do you have young children? If so, how will the divorce agreement handle college payments if the children pursue higher education? What about medical expenses in the event a child is the victim of an accident or serious illness? Account for these and other financial "what ifs?" within your divorce settlement agreement to avoid a future contentious battle.
- Forgetting tax consequences. Almost every financial transaction has a tax implication. There is a third party to the divorce: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Taxes will impact everything from the division of the family home to alimony payments. Plan accordingly. Discuss these impacts and address them within your divorce settlement agreement.
Avoiding these three mistakes will help to better ensure a smooth transition after divorce. Those going through a divorce can take steps to further mitigate their risk of surprises. An attorney can review your unique case and structure a divorce settlement agreement to meet your needs.