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5 divorce mistakes to avoid

Denver couples who are divorcing may not want to see their divorce take years because of court battles. Instead, many couples probably attempt to be as nice as possible, especially when there are children involved. After all, you'll be seeing each other at school conferences, soccer games and graduations - right?

That is good advice if not taken too far. A recent news article pointed out that being too nice can leave a person financially exposed and unprepared. As you separate your lives, you are also separating your best interests. What is good for you may not be good for your ex-spouse, and vice versa. With that in mind, there are five divorce mistakes that people can avoid, while still being nice.

  1. Keep the house: This is not always a good idea -- especially in today's housing market. It may seem like a good idea to keep the house so as not to disrupt the children, but can a single parent make the mortgage payments? And is it a good idea to trade cash now for potential equity later? This is not always the best idea.
  2. Not understanding the big picture: Too often there is one spouse who lacks a full understanding of the finances, but occasionally it is both spouses. It is important to know where all the assets are, who will remain the beneficiaries to wills and the status of other estate planning tools.
  3. Not getting professional help: It may seem like a good idea to work out all the financial details together, but there are rules and regulations to follow regarding property transfers, retirement plans and other legal matters. A professional can help you avoid problems.
  4. Understanding the process: It is important to understand who is on your side and who is not. Your spouse's attorney may seem like a nice person, but he or she is looking out for your spouse's best interests -- not yours.
  5. Open your eyes as well as your heart: It's great to foster a good relationship with your ex-spouse, especially when there are children involved. But things change, and your previously mutual goals may no longer be in sync. Stay nice, but stay aware.

Divorce is nearly always a difficult time, but it can be made less so when a person understands the process, and has trusted professionals guiding the way.

Source: MSNBC, "Divorce mistakes you can make by being too nice," Geoff Williams, June 26, 2012

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