Divorce Settlement Mistakes You Can Make Without an Attorney

Can you write your own divorce? Do you really need a divorce attorney? People hire attorneys because they need help with something they do not feel comfortable doing themselves. Most of those getting divorced should retain legal counsel to protect their rights. We provide advice and counsel to educate our clients and propose courses of action. 

Our attorneys want to prevent mistakes because that is one way we provide value to our clients. It is up to our clients, not us, to decide what direction to take, but if they follow our advice, they reduce the risk of making errors we want them to avoid. 

Most divorce cases settle. For nearly all parties getting divorced, litigation consumes too much time, energy, emotion, and money. The resolution to your divorce will probably be an agreement that will impact you for the rest of your life. It must be in your best interests as much as possible. 

What Divorce Settlement Mistakes Can I Make? 

  1. Do Not Just Settle 

Divorce can create a lot of stress and you may want to put it behind you. We can do that depending on the circumstances and how well the parties cooperate. But the assets you have, any children involved, and the cooperation of your spouse, will all impact how long it will take to reach an agreement. Your spouse may use your urgency against you and propose unreasonable terms hoping you will quickly agree. 

  1. Tax Implications Are Not Considered 

Not all assets are alike, and there are tax implications to the equitable distribution of property. Some assets may be taxed higher than others, impacting their value. If you do not know about tax issues, you may agree to a property settlement that, after taxes, is worth significantly less than what your spouse will receive.  

  1. You Want to Keep the Marital Home. Can You Afford It? 

If you own a house or condo, keeping it may be a goal for many reasons. You may see it as worth giving up your rights to other property to attain it. Is this goal reasonable? Create a post-divorce budget.  

  • What will your expenses and income be?  
  • Will you be able to refinance the mortgage? If so, what will your payments be? If not, what is your Plan B? 
  • Will you be able to pay the utilities, mortgage, insurance, and taxes?  
  • Will you be able to set aside money to pay for future repairs and maintenance? 

Everyone needs a home, but will this one make you so property-rich and cash-poor that you will be forced to sell it after your divorce? 

  1. Your Spouse May Hide Assets 

A complete inventory of the parties’ marital assets is the foundation of fair, equitable property distribution. Do not agree to a settlement if you believe your spouse is dishonest and may be hiding assets. If there are ways he or she may be siphoning off or mislabeling assets, we can get to the bottom of it so we can have clear, reliable information about the property the two of you own. 

Contact Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., today if you are thinking about getting divorced and have questions or if you have decided it is right for you and need legal representation.