It's usually best to settle as many issues out of court as possible, he says. Oftentimes, this can be done with the help of a mediator or arbitrator.
Find one with a background as a judge or an experienced family law attorney who understands the laws in your state, Sherman advises.
You still generally need a court to approve any settlement, but at least you'll spend less time and money on legal fees.
Sherman cautions that mediation and arbitration do have some shortcomings, namely when you need emergency monetary support or visitation rights.
In those cases, you may need to seek immediate court assistance.
2. Avoid letting emotions cloud your decisions
For many couples, divorce is an extremely emotional time that can lead to bad financial decisions, especially when it comes to divvying up property.
"The financial decisions we make in divorce that are emotionally based are absolutely the worst decisions that we'll ever make," says Violet P. Woodhouse, author of "Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce."
Woodhouse, an attorney and Certified Financial Planner based in Newport Beach, Calif., says people make bad decisions during a financial crisis because they tend to hang onto things that are familiar, such as a home.
"Two years from now those emotions are not going to be there," she says.
Allow yourself a cooling off period before making financial decisions.
3. Learn how to manage household financesIn many marriages, one partner takes charge of the family finances because it's convenient, but that can mean the other partner is left in the dark about the overall financial picture.
"They need to gather documentation and be fully aware of their financial affairs," says Amy C. Boohaker, an attorney and Certified Financial Planner based in Sarasota, Fla.
"That means in-depth knowledge of not just what your assets are but what your liabilities are."
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