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Financial mistakes to avoid in divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2023 | Divorce |

When a Washington household that includes a married couple with children becomes two separate households, there are undoubtedly numerous financial implications. If one spouse was not gainfully employed during marriage due to being home full-time to raise a family, he or she might encounter significant challenges while adapting to a new lifestyle and trying to become financially independent. Your divorce may be less stressful if you know how to avoid some common financial mistakes.

Achieving a fair and agreeable settlement takes time. One of the biggest mistakes people make (which can have substantial financial consequences) is rushing to finalize a divorce to save time and to move on in life. Doing so, however, often causes spouses to overlook important issues that may have had a positive impact on their finances had they taken time to negotiate a better deal.

Settling out of court helps save money in a divorce

Another mistake spouses often make regarding financial issues in a divorce is refusing to consider mediation as a viable settlement option. Mediation enables you to settle a divorce without going to court. You and your spouse must agree to try your best to avoid confrontation. To achieve this goal, negotiation sessions take place for you to engage in peaceful discussions to resolve disagreements about property division, child custody, alimony and other important matters.

A mediator can help facilitate these discussions. This person remains neutral and helps you stay on track when resolving a particular issue. Mediation can have a direct impact on your finances in a divorce because it is typically a lot less expensive than litigation.

Investigate further if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets

Not speaking up, asking questions or investigating concerning issues can take a toll on your finances in a divorce. Washington state operates under community property guidelines, which means the judge overseeing your case will split all marital assets. This is often 50/50, but the Court frequently divides the community property disproportionately. Depending on the financial situation with both parties, it could be 55/45, or 60/40 – whatever seems fair and equitable to the Court. If your spouse has control of your finances and you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets but do nothing about it, you could wind up getting the short end of the stick in a settlement.

Washington law requires full disclosure regarding marital assets and liabilities. If your spouse tries to beat the system by undervaluing assets, hiding money or failing to disclose assets or debt, he or she is committing perjury. If you address the issue in court and provide evidence to substantiate your allegations, the judge may see fit to hold your ex in contempt. This can help ensure that you walk away with all you are entitled to receive as part of your divorce settlement.