Divorce is a civil lawsuit that terminates a marriage. Like other lawsuits, a divorce can be time-consuming, complex, and costly. However, spouses can prepare for the divorce process in a manner that avoid costly financial mistakes.
Each spouse must be upfront, forthcoming, and honest about the facts, issues, and property concerning the divorce. Withholding or actively concealing information and property may result in legal costs and possible loss of property during the equitable distribution of the marital property. During the divorce process each spouse must submit a list of all assets and debts they have. This includes property acquired before and after the marriage as well property held separately and jointly by the spouses. When submitting the list of assets and debts each party affirming under penalty of perjury and potential court penalties that what they have submitted is true. Failure to provide all of the assets and knowingly concealing property or debts known solely to one spouse, could result in the withholding spouse paying fines, paying the other spouse, or even criminal consequences.
In certain divorce case, the court may order mediation to resolve disputes between the divorcing spouses. Mediation is a dispute resolution conference between parties that is conducted by a third-party neutral mediator. The mediator helps to facilitate negotiation and compromise between parties. Although the mediator may offer ways for the parties to come to an agreement, the parties are not bind by the meditator’s resolution. Mediation is a less costly route to resolving a divorce. If the spouses go to court, they will continue to accrue attorney’s fees, court costs, and other fees.
Sometimes divorce can be contentious. The divorce process may also seem to last for long time. In those instances, some spouses are too eager to accept a divorce settlement that is not advantageous to them. They may agree to low or no spousal support or even take less than their fair share of the marital property. While it is best to have an amicable divorce, spouses must assess what their post-divorce debts and financial obligations will be. This is even more important in the instance of have physical custody or owing child support. Underestimating the post-divorce finances may be detrimental to the a spouse.