You might be getting divorced or have already gone through the process. Either way, one of your top priorities right now is to protect your finances, property and children if any. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake that will cost you money in the long run. Below are five common mistakes ex-spouses can commit during separation that may cost them money in the future.
1) Not signing a separation agreement
A separation agreement is a legally-binding document that outlines the terms of your separation. It can help prevent misunderstandings and disagreements down the road. If you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on everything, you may need to go to court. This could end up costing you more time and money in the end.
The separation agreement should also include child maintenance and visitation terms, spousal support arrangements, property division details (including home sales), debts owed, tax changes or any other major life changes that may impact your finances after divorce.
It is a good idea to get these agreements in writing because it will save you time and money if there are any disputes down the road.
2) Losing sight of your financial goals
Every spouse needs an emergency fund, even if they are not planning on being self-employed again after divorce. This fund should cover at least six months of living expenses in case something unexpected comes up.
You also need to be aware of your credit score and work on improving it if necessary. A high credit score will help you get approved for a mortgage or car loan post-divorce. You may also want to consider refinancing your home or car.
It is also important to remember that you will still be responsible for joint debts, so make sure you are aware of what those are and start working on a plan to pay them off.
Finally, don’t forget about taxes! You may need to change your withholdings or file an amended return if you have received any large financial gifts or inheritances since the separation. Not to worry though! If you file an online tax return each year, then the program you use should automatically ask you about your withholdings, as well as any financial gifts you may have received.
3) Taking your frustrations to social media
It is never a good idea to post negative comments about your ex-spouse on social media. Not only will it make you look bad, but it could also affect the outcome of your divorce case. Keep in mind that anything you post online can be used as evidence in court, so think before you hit ‘Post.’
If you need to vent, talk to a friend or family member instead—someone who truly understands what you’re going through or who you feel has a genuine concern for your welfare.
4) Involving your children in the divorce
Divorce is hard enough on adults, let alone children. It is important to remember that you are divorcing your spouse, not your children.
Try to keep the divorce as civil as possible and don’t involve your children in any of the decisions made between you and your ex-spouse. This will only make things more difficult for them and could have a negative impact on their mental health.
If you need to talk about the divorce with your children, make sure it is done in a way that is age-appropriate and doesn’t cause them any unnecessary stress.
It is also important to remember that you are still responsible for providing for your children financially, no matter what happens during the divorce proceedings.
Even if you are not required to pay child support, you will still have expenses that your ex-spouse is no longer responsible for after divorce (e.g., clothing, recreational activities). You also need to remember that the children’s standard of living may decrease post-divorce, so it is important to save as much money as possible.
5) Not getting proper valuations
A divorce settlement is never final until it has been properly valued. If you are not getting your assets or liabilities properly valued, there is a good chance that the court will deduct an amount from your claim to compensate for this error.
It may seem like less of a hassle to simply take your ex-spouse’s word when they say what something is worth, but this could end up costing you in the long run. Always get a proper valuation from a qualified professional to avoid any costly mistakes.
If you are considering a separation or divorce, please contact a family law attorney for more information. They can help you protect your finances, property and children during this difficult time.
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