TOP TEN TIPS to help you side step mistakes

1. Copy Your Records

 Before your divorce, be sure to make copies of all of your financial records.  Keep them in a safe place away from your spouse.  These records include, but are not limited to, personal and business income tax returns (last three years), business records, account statements from investment firms, banks, and pension offices, pay stubs, life insurance information, annuities, credit card statements, stock certificates, and receipts for purchase of larger items.  Copy anything to which you might need to refer.  Obtaining copies of records via the discovery process while in the midst of a divorce is much more difficult and can be expensive. 

2. Check your Credit Reports & Credit Applications

 Obtain copies of any credit or mortgage applications from your bank or creditors, particularly those that have been completed 12 months prior to your separation.  If the application was joint, then it will list assets, liabilities, and income for both spouses.  Those applying for loans or credit tend to list all possible assets and income in order to qualify for the credit.  As a result, this may be a very good source of asset discovery when one spouse believes that the other is withholding information on marital property.  Your credit report will help you to review and eventually close all joint accounts that are out there.

3. Marital Debt

 Debts that were obtained in the name of both spouses before a divorce (meaning both husband and wife signed a document or application saying that they were responsible for the debt) remain the obligations of both parties after a divorce, no matter what a divorce decree says.  Creditors are not party to your separation or property settlement agreement.  Therefore, if your ex-spouse does not pay a debt that he or she was responsible for according to your divorce decree, then YOU are responsible for the debt. 

4. Ensure Your Income Will Continue

 If you are receiving child or spousal support, be sure there is disability insurance and you own a life insurance policy on your soon-to-be-ex spouse.  These policies would ensure that the income you need continues if your ex is disabled or dies.  You should own the life insurance and pay the premiums.  You may be able to negotiate an increase in support to cover the premiums.  Don’t rely on your ex or their employer to protect your interests.  Be sure your ex applies for and is issued coverage before the divorce is final. 

5. Don't File For Divorce Until You Know How You Want To Get Divorced.

Get Educated about the choices of processes available and how the system works. You are far less likely to make mistakes you will regret later if you get educated first.

6. Be Careful Who You Listen To.

Getting divorce advice from friends, family and neighbors can be a bad idea. Even if they have been through a divorce, they are not divorce experts and they are no objective. Rely on them for support and not advice.

7. Set Goals and Make a Plan

Identify what is important to you in your divorce as soon as you possibly can. Then keep your eye on the goal. Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.

8. Don't Fight, It's Not Worth It.

It will cost more time,money and emotional energy than you could even imagine. Unless your spouse is being completely unreasonable or refuses to cooperate, do whatever you can to try to keep things amicable.

9. Keeping the House May Not be as Important as You Think.

So many people want to keep the house, for the sake of the kids.Yet keeping the house only makes sense if you can afford it. Period.

10. Get a Therapist Rather than letting Emotions Get in the Way of Making Good Decisions.

Don't use other Divorce Professionals as your therapist. Dealing with your emotions  will allow you to make much better decisions in your divorce.