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Avoiding divorce mistakes that can leave you hurting

Without a doubt, divorce is one of the most emotional events you will go through in your life. With the potential for sorrow, grief, anger, fear and resentment (and every other feeling in the book) it is possible to have moments when those feelings blind you.

Serious problems can occur when complex emotions, along with inexperience with the divorce process, cause you to make mistakes. While some bad decisions may be easy to overcome, others can have long-lasting negative consequences, leaving you to struggle personally and financially, perhaps for years after a judge signs your divorce order.

Your emotions can cloud your judgment

Like with any legal process, you can expect to deal with reams of documents. In addition to completing, signing and submitting legal paperwork, you will have to compile and safeguard documentation of a more personal nature. For example, bank statements, evidence of your spouse's earnings, and documentation related to home ownership and maintenance can play a critical part in fair property division. Failing to secure these documents can leave you at a disadvantage.

You will also want to carefully avoid any of the following common and costly mistakes:

  • Forgetting to consider the tax ramifications of assets during property division
  • Ignoring recent changes in laws related to alimony
  • Fighting to keep the house without accounting for upkeep, taxes and other costs
  • Neglecting to close joint credit accounts and remove your spouse as an authorized user of your individual credit cards
  • Allowing yourself to vent or brag about your finances on social media, which can complicate your chances for a fair settlement
  • Failing to investigate less expensive forms of divorce, such as mediation or collaboration

You may have easier options

While it may seem impossible to overcome your emotions and reach a positive conclusion through alternative dispute resolution, you may be surprised at how many issues you and your spouse can agree upon with the assistance of a neutral third party and individual legal counsel. In addition, ADR often leaves ex-spouses with less anger than if they've had to endure a contentious, adversarial divorce in court. This may be especially gratifying if you have children.

It's not easy to deal with the difficult emotions of divorce and focus on the legal matters that require their attention. For this reason, proper legal advice can make a huge difference in the outcome and positively affect how you feel.

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