Divorce Costs

5 Common Money Mistakes in Divorce

Barbara Rowens

June 30, 2017

For most people, the divorce process is emotionally draining and mentally exhausting. Many people describe it as a time of being frozen, numb or moving in slow motion. Despite that emotional and mental trauma, you will be expected to go through your finances with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that your settlement agreement is fair and equitable. With divorce brain fog, that’s easier said than done!

Even if you feel like you are clear headed, here are a few of the most common money mistakes to look out for when getting divorced

1. Underestimating post-divorce expenses.

You will be asked to do a financial affidavit that reflects your expenses AFTER the divorce. It is critical that you are realistic and don’t leave anything out. This information will be used to determine if spousal support is necessary or not. You must be sure to include everything from your health care deductibles to anticipated home repair charges for the roof you need to replace next year. If you underestimate your expenses by $400 per month, that’s $4800 per year. Where are you going to get that extra money? When you’re the primary breadwinner, this mistake could lead you to agree to pay support that you ultimately can’t afford. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® will help you scour your affidavit for errors and make sure that you don’t omit anything.

So many people going through divorce just want to “get it over with.” This is not the time to just throw your hands up and agree to a settlement just to be done with it.

So many people going through divorce just want to “get it over with.” This is not the time to just throw your hands up and agree to a settlement just to be done with it.

2. Believing that your attorney will handle everything.

Your attorney is an expert in the law, not finances. Would you ask your doctor for advice about your car? No, so why would you expect your attorney to be an expert in finances? The attorney’s job is to ask you to fill out your financial affidavit and take your word for it that it is correct. A good attorney will glance over it looking for any glaring errors but that’s about it. The most commonly miss-valued asset is a pension. And sometimes, the pension is the most valuable asset in a marriage. I often see attorneys accept a present value statement from a pension as the correct value to include as marital property. It’s not. Not by a long shot. A CDFA® can value it properly and make sure that tax ramifications are considered as well.

3. Not taking Tax Deductions.

Not everyone realizes that portions of your attorney or CDFA® fees during divorce are tax deductible. In fact, very few people do. Any fees for obtaining alimony and/or retirement funds during your divorce proceedings are tax deductible. This means your QDRO fees are deductible. And even though this may be changing soon, right now, spousal support is taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payer. This should be considered when the settlement is drafted.

The more you and your spouse can work out by just communicating, the more money you’ll save.

4. Letting attorneys do the talking for you.

The more you and your spouse can work out by just communicating, the more money you’ll save. I’ve seen many couples that could not bear to be in the same room, but consider the cost. If you have your attorney relay information to the other spouse’s attorney, you’re racking up bills upwards of $600 an hour because you refuse to talk. This makes sense to no one. Get over any anger and talk about what will work.

5. Letting your emotions make your decisions.

So many people going through divorce just want to “get it over with.” This is not the time to just throw your hands up and agree to a settlement just to be done with it. This kind of thinking is why divorce so often leads to bankruptcy! A 50/50 split of assets is almost NEVER a truly equitable settlement. So, put the emotions aside, talk to your spouse. Take your time and make sure you thoroughly understand what your future will look like after your divorce and be sure to hire the right experts to help you.

Struggling to navigate your divorce? Take a look at my post-divorce checklist for 10 steps you can take now for a financially smarter future.

Disclaimer: All articles/blog posts are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney.

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Newsletter.

As a CDFA® and divorce mediator, we serve individuals and couples who are facing divorce, by providing smart financial solutions for your amicable settlement and asset separation.

Southampton - Map
Plymouth Meeting - Map
Radnor - Map
Bala Cynwyd - Map
Malvern - Map
Philadelphia - Map
Marlton, NJ - Map

 

As a CDFA® and divorce mediator, we serve individuals and couples who are facing divorce, by providing smart financial solutions for your amicable settlement and asset separation.

 

Our Locations:

Southampton - Map
Plymouth Meeting - Map
Radnor - Map
Philadelphia - Map
Bala Cynwyd - Map
Malvern - Map
Marlton, NJ - Map

 

South Hampton - Map
Plymouth Meeting - Map
Radnor - Map
Philadelphia - Map
Bala Cynwyd - Map
Malvern - Map
Marlton, NJ - Map

As a CDFA® and divorce mediator, we serve individuals and couples who are facing divorce, by providing smart financial solutions for your amicable settlement and asset separation.