The do's and don'ts of getting divorced
DO think about tax consequences.
For instance, if a stock is valued at $3,000, it may only be worth
$2,600 in cash after capital gains taxes are paid. Thus, it would
not be the same as receiving $3,000 cash in a divorce settlement.
"If couples are trying to provide each with similar amounts of spendable
money, they must consider the costs of converting certain assets
into cash before deciding how to divide items," cautions Margorie
Engel, author, president and CEO of Stepfamily Association of America.
DO choose your assets carefully.
When staking a claim in assets, remember that choosing the
wrong assets may end up costing you money, instead of making you
money. If you want to keep the house, for instance, first educate
yourself about the fair market value of your home, says Goldstein.
Remember that you'll have to make the mortgage payments and pay
taxes, interest, insurance, utilities and maintenance extras. Selling
it won't be a picnic, either: The brokerage costs and taxes from
the sale will be solely your responsibility.
DO line up your own emotional
support. Choose friends you can trust, because you never
know who may end up turning on you or even testifying against you
later. Consulting with a counselor can keep you thinking clearly
in order to focus on your divorce plan. If you anticipate a child
custody fight, you may want to take your child to a therapist before
it starts. Randy Rolfe, author of "The
Seven Secrets of Successful Parents," states that when you have
counseling, you'll be less likely to give up and give over things
in the divorce.
Experts also recommend that you remain practical --
legally and emotionally -- when planning your divorce. There some
things you should never do:
- Don't skimp on legal help.
- Don't just move out of your home.
Unless you fear physical harm, talk to your lawyer before you
make your move.
- Don't try to do it all. Some cases
do need experts like accountants, appraisers, etc. Thinking you
can do these things on your own can be counterproductive.
- Don't share a lawyer with your spouse.
This scenario presents a huge conflict of interest. Most lawyers
won't do it, and it could borderline on malpractice.
- Don't make revenge the goal of the
- Don't compare your divorce to another
divorce. Each case has its own set of facts, with its own personality.
- Don't bad-mouth your spouse to your
children. It can backfire on you in ways you don't expect.
- Don't just think about your actions,
but also consider the impact they can have in a case. For example,
don't write a letter you would mind being read in a courtroom.
A divorce will affect you legally, financially and
emotionally. Although deciding to divorce isn't easy, taking the
time to incorporate these do's and don'ts can make the process --
and its financial and emotional consequences -- as uncomplicated
editorial assistant Leslie Hunt contributed to this story.