Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce
As attorneys who regularly work with clients going through divorce, we also advise our clients about what not to do when you are going through a divorce. Below, we discuss some of the most important mistakes you want to avoid making:
Gathering Financial Documentation
Make sure that you gather all of the necessary paperwork as soon as possible so that you do not have to ask your spouse for them later on. This includes paperwork that has the following information, at a minimum:
- Account numbers and account statements for financial accounts;
- Important documents showing how much you paid for important assets, such as the family home, cars, and other expensive personal property;
- Any receipts documenting money spent on supporting your children, childcare, and the like; and
- Any social security statements that show you and your spouse’s expected earnings, future benefits, etc.
These documents will not only likely be relevant to your divorce settlement, but for future earnings, for example, if you can claim a portion of your spouse’s Social Security earnings. This is also important because some accounts will likely be worth more or less later because of their tax consequences, for example, a Roth versus traditional IRA, or stocks that could, many years later, trigger a big tax bill. You and your attorney need all of this information at your fingertips because divorce negotiations involve figuring out the exact value of everything, both now and later. One thing that you do not want to do is allow a focus on the here and now to compromise your vision of future events. One of your attorney’s jobs is to shield you from risk, and that includes considering what could change in the future.
Social Media Behavior
Keeping quiet on social media is of the utmost importance. Discussing money, trips, etc. can complicate divorce negotiations, especially when it comes to establishing proposed settlements.
Joint Accounts and Joint Expenses
You also need to consult your attorney to advise on whether you can close any joint accounts you have with your spouse—including authorized users on credit cards—and transferring debts into the relevant individual’s name. There are typically administrative orders in most Florida counties that forbid the closing of accounts during the pendency of a divorce. Administrative orders also typically require marital bills and expenses to remain in place during the pendency of the case until there is a court order or mutual agreement to the contrary. If a party unilaterally makes decision to close a joint bank account or cancel an insurance policy, they could be held in contempt of court. Therefore, it is vital you discuss any changes to your financial status with your divorce attorney.
Making Wise Financial Choices
Any choice that you make in divorce—such as the choice to keep the family home—should be weighed against practical financial implications for the future. For every one of these decisions, you should first ask yourself how that financial choice will meet your needs and the needs of your family now and in the future, what you might have to give up in exchange for this choice, and how it might affect how your children view money.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys Today
Regardless of how complex or simple your divorce is, it is extremely important that you work with a trusted divorce attorney to get through it and make sure that, with every step you take, you remain protected. Contact our Orlando divorce attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law today to find out more about our legal services. We are here to help you keep moving forward.