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What NOT to Do During a Divorce

Going through a divorce is never easy.  Divorcing couples often face difficult emotional, financial, and legal issues that can leave them feeling overwhelmed and confused.  We’ve compiled a list of common mistakes made during divorce, to help you navigate your way through a divorce and avoid making costly mistakes that can negatively impact you down the road.

  1. Ignoring tax consequences of divorce:  When going through a divorce, many couples overlook the tax consequences related to spousal support, child support, and property transfers.  For example, alimony received is normally taxable as ordinary income.  Also, if your divorce settlement deals with retirement assets, you need to be aware of the potential penalties and early distribution fees.
  2. Not telling your attorney the “whole” truth:  People withhold information from their attorneys for a number of reasons.  Sometimes they are embarrassed about certain facts or situations.  Other times, people facing a divorce feel that going into too much detail with their attorney will slow the process down, and ultimately cost more money.  It is absolutely necessary to be truthful and forthcoming with your attorney, so that he or she can effectively deal with potentially harmful aspects of your case.
  3. Involving your children in the divorce process:  It is very important to make sure that you don’t discuss your divorce with your children, or allow them to overhear your conversations about the divorce.  It doesn’t matter how old your children are or how unfair your ex is being – don’t make the mistake of involving your children.
  4. Rushing into a settlement:  In an effort to end the divorce process as quickly as possible, it can be tempting to accept the first settlement proposal that you are presented with, or sign settlement documents without taking the time to understand the legal ramifications.  You must resist the urge to “just get it over with.”  You should never sign anything without consulting with an attorney.
  5. Dating too soon:  You may be thinking that since you and your spouse are separated, you are free to date, right?  After all, it wasn’t your idea to get a divorce.  Wrong!  Many people going through a divorce make the mistake of jumping into a new relationship too soon after a separation.  This will likely make your ex much harder to negotiate with, and could cause more stress for your children.

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