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Tips to avoid being a financial victim in divorce

The process of deciding that divorce is the right route for a couple to take tends to be one drenched in emotion. In the throes of such upheaval it's not uncommon for one or even both parties to feel they're being swept along, with no sense of control. There are so many questions that need to be answered and doing things in accordance with the law is critical.

It may be that you have both concluded that your key objective is to get through the hurdles with as little hassle as possible. Uncontested divorce may seem like the logical form and divorce mediation may be the means by which you achieve your ends.

Mediation does represent something of a more reasoned approach to coming to an agreement, but it still requires an honest review of current circumstances and long-term expectations to be sure that no one in the transaction winds up being a victim. To that end, here are some fundamentals to keep in mind.

  1. Cut financial apron strings. Very often in a marriage situation, one or the other spouse is the money person. That can create a state of unhealthy dependency. Both parties should get themselves up to speed on the realities of their particular financial landscape and make sure long-term financial security is properly prioritized and addressed
     
  2. Attend to your own taxes. If you don't have a professional filing your taxes for you, it might be time to consider it. Leaving the job in the hands of your ex-spouse could result in costly errors. They may be unintentional. They might not. Either way, you owe it to yourself to look out for your interests.

Focusing a lot of attention on money matters may be uncomfortable and undesirable for some spouses. But one of the realities of divorce is that it creates two independent households. To prevent either one from becoming a financial victim, each head of household needs to exercise their own financial power.

Source: ABC News, "How Women Can Keep From Making Themselves Victims in Divorce," Laura Mattia, Sept. 4, 2014

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