Like any legal situation, coming through a divorce unscathed requires planning. This may seem calculating, but it will save you from the regret of handling matters while emotions are running high. It may also help to redirect your mind and get you through the legal part so you can be free to grieve later.
The legal details should still be worked out by a lawyer or mediator, but there are some financial matters that will help you personally before, during and after the process.
1. Learn the property division laws for your state. Some states require an equal division of all financial assets, and others leave it to the discretion of the courts or the skill of the attorneys.
2. Make an inventory of all assets. There may be some things that seem insignificant to your or your ex now, but you’ll regret giving up later. Use this inventory as a basis for negotiating a division of assets that’s as close to equal as possible.
3. Don’t hide assets. This is not only petty, but they will be found. Anything you do that makes you seem dishonest will count against you in the final resolution.
4. Don’t move out of the family home unless or until it becomes physically or legally necessary. This not only protects you from having the financial responsibility of supporting two households, it will give you and your spouse time to work out details about custody, co-parenting and visitation. The only time when this will be a problem is if it’s physically unsafe for you to remain under the same roof.
Some of these ideas may be difficult to implement, but they’re the basis for a fair and equitable solution that will benefit all parties in the long run. Another great tip is to monitor your behavior. Don’t talk disparagingly about your ex, no matter how tempting it is. Anything you do that can be seen as negative or combative, even if it’s unintentional, it can – and probably will – be used against you in the divorce proceedings.
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