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Going through a divorce can be one of the most emotionally stressful times of your life, especially if you have children. Divorces can also be very expensive. It's important to take the time to research your options and plan the timing of your divorce very carefully. Try to avoid these 7 mistakes when going through a divorce:
1. Not considering mediation before getting a lawyer
A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who works to help resolve important issues such as property division, support, custody and parenting. Mediation can be a lower cost alternative to a litigated divorce with an attorney and may work for some couples who are able to make decisions together.
2. Not thinking about what your financial situation will be like during and after your divorce
This is especially true for stay-at-home parents who have been out of the work force for a while. If you have small children at home, you have to consider what your bills and life will be like after getting a divorce. Expenses like health insurance can be very high if you are unable to work for a few years. You may want to consider staying separated for a longer period of time if possible.
3. Not closing all your joint accounts and credit cards
It's important to separate your financial life from your spouse as soon as you know you are getting separated or divorced. It will be easier to account for money and protect your assets once the divorce is final.
4. Not getting referrals from friends for lawyers
Ask your friends and family or people who have gone through a divorce to refer you to someone. Many lawyers charge a couple hundred dollars just for a consultation. You don't want to waste money consulting with lawyers who may not be right for you. Getting a referral from someone you know will help you narrow your search down and save money.
5. Not doing research on custody and property division in your state before meeting with a lawyer
Do research online and go to your local library before going on any consultations. Come up with a list of questions based on your research. When you do your own research it helps you come up with informative questions. However, don't assume your research is correct, laws change frequently.
6. Calling your lawyer on the phone versus emailing
It's more costly to talk to your lawyer on the phone or see them in the person than it is to email your questions to them.
7. Not considering getting money in a lump sum upfront versus a monthly payment
If possible and applicable ask your lawyer if you can get spousal support and/or alimony in a lump sum upfront versus monthly. If your ex spouse's financial situation changes they may not be able to make payments or a judge may lower the payment.
Taking these suggestions into consideration will help ease the process and stress level of your divorce.
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