When going through a divorce, it's easy to make some mistakes. But mistakes made now can have far-reaching consequences long after the ink on the divorce judgment is dry. What is interesting is that some mistakes seem to fall along gender lines.
Regardless of your gender, however, during a divorce you are particularly vulnerable, which means that it is extremely vital to seek knowledgeable and experienced legal guidance to avoid making costly and avoidable mistakes like those noted below.
Thinking only in the short-term
This kind of mistake is often made by women going through a divorce. They might fight hard to retain the family home to keep the kids from being uprooted, only to learn how difficult it is to renegotiate a low interest rate as a single-earner. Even if they plan to unload the property later and turn a profit, the real estate market can be quite volatile and the property could wind up financially underwater.
Making financial assumptions
Never assume that your divorce judgment is the final word on financial disbursements. In order to access pension and retirement benefits from a spouse's account, you will likely need to file a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) with the court, get it signed by the judge and then submit it to the plan administrator in order to access any of the retirement benefits listed on your divorce judgment. Until this has been done, you will be denied access to your former spouse's plan benefits.
Negotiating a settlement using outdated financial statements
Brokerage statements that are more than a month old can depict a wildly inaccurate financial picture. Your spouse might not be knowingly trying to pull the wool over your eyes, but there is no way of knowing this if your financial documents aren't up-to-date and accurate.
Failing to budget your expensesThis is one area where men typically fail to plan. They often assert to their family law attorneys that they don't need a budget. They feel that their salaries cover their expenses and it was their exes who were responsible for escalating costs and expenses.
The reality is often far different. Men typically greatly underestimate their expenses and may thus overpromise their abilities to pay spousal support or to assume marital debts. Make sure that you sit down with your Auburn family law attorney and chart your monthly expenses in a budget so that you know exactly what is coming in and going out of your bank account. Only then will you know what you can agree to in negotiations with your ex and her legal counsel.
Assuming one spouse will pay for kids' expenses
Parents often continue to help their adult children with college and other expenses past the age of 18. If you expect your spouse to contribute meaningfully to these expenses after their legal duty to provide child support has ended, this needs to be negotiated and specified in your divorce judgment.
Neglecting to address this legally now can lead to dashed expectations on the part of the adult children and budget shortfalls on the part of the paying parent.