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How to Avoid Costly Divorce Mistakes (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | May 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

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If you are considering a South Carolina divorce, carefully read through the following examples of costly mistakes made by divorcing couples. Experts from the Wall Street Journal made a list of the following costly divorce mistakes that couples should strive to avoid. We will look at half of these in today's post and the other half tomorrow.

1. Staying in the house

Though there's nothing wrong with wanting to stay in the family home, but experts are quick to warn this can often end badly. Parents are especially vulnerable to the lure of remaining in the family home, eager to avoid disrupting the kids, changing schools or abandoning the place of so many happy memories. Though all this makes sense on an emotional level, it is crucial to analyze this decision from a financial perspective.

Remember that the home was maintained by a family, often with the help of two incomes. Are you going to be able to afford to pay off your spouse for his or her share of the equity in the home? How about going forward, can you afford the taxes, maintenance and mortgage on your own? You need to be sure before you make such an expensive commitment. In some cases, it makes more sense for the parties to agree to sell the house, split the equity, and then find new homes that they know they can afford.

2. Overlooking money

It's often the case in marriages that couples divide the responsibility for managing their money. One spouse may be in charge of some bills, while the other handles others. It's not uncommon for one spouse to be responsible for managing all the money. The problem with these approaches in a divorce is that ignorance can prove tremendously costly. If you have no familiarity with the household finances, you will be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes time to divide the assets and debts. After all, how can you demand half of what you never knew existed? The best plan here is usually to take the necessary time to familiarize yourself with the assets and debts before separating. Make copies of as much paperwork as you can. Comb through statements and make an effort to learn what valuable items and accounts you own, so that you may pass that information along to your attorney.

3. Failing to budget

Another common but costly divorce mistake is to fail to plan properly for the future. You may be used to years, maybe even decades, of having two incomes, and downsizing to only one can come as a shock. Make a list of household expenses and be sure to prioritize, listing the extra expenses that can be reduced in the event of a cash crunch. You need to prepare for a possible dramatic decrease in income, depending on whether you or your spouse served as the primary breadwinner. Burning through savings to temporarily cover the gap is a recipe for disaster down the road, as the money will eventually run out, leaving you even worse off than you were before.

Source: “Divorce and Money: Six Costly Mistake,” by Veronica Dagher, published at WSJ.com.

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Ben is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates. He is one of only four attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. To schedule a consultation with Ben Stevens call (864) 598-9172.

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