The outcome of your property division dispute can set the tone for your life post-divorce. How assets and liabilities are handled during the process can significantly affect your financial and emotional wellbeing.
To that end, understanding what mistakes people commonly make during the property division process can help you avoid those pitfalls and set yourself up for success.
Property Division Mistakes You Need to Avoid
If you're engaged in a property division dispute, avoid taking the following actions:
- Neglecting to speak with an experienced property division lawyer and financial professional. A lawyer with some property division cases under their belt will understand state-specific property division laws and help you get a more equitable judgment. Similarly, a financial professional like a certified public accountant (CPA) can be invaluable during property division cases. They can help you accurately evaluate assets and liabilities, enabling you to prepare for the financial impact of your case more carefully.
- Failing to take taxes into account. The last thing most people want to think about during a divorce is next year's taxes, but do yourself a favor and do it anyways. For example, let's say you want the marital home. Will it be subject to an estate tax? If so, can you pay it? If you're selling the marital home, will you need to pay a capital gains tax? If so, how much will that cost? Even the most amicable divorces can be costly. The last thing you need is thousands or even tens of thousands of unexpected dollars in owed taxes.
- Overlooking post-divorce expenses. For many people, life post-divorce comes with unavoidable high-ticket items, like a downpayment on a new house, apartment, or car. Figure out what life will look like post-divorce, and start budgeting accordingly.
- Making decisions based on emotion. Most people get caught up in the emotional ties they have to assets during property division. For example, many individuals want to keep the marital home. But think about things long-term. Do you live in a good real estate market? Will you want to move in the future? Will the home be valuable to any children you have? If you're going to end up selling the house at a loss eventually, it might be better just to cut your losses and move on. This also goes for smaller assets—if you want to move into a small apartment post-divorce and travel the world, you might not want to keep a huge leather sofa that would see little use.
- Refusing to consider mediation or a similar non-contested alternative. If you're estranged with your spouse, it can be tempting to drag them through a lengthy court battle. In the long run, however, doing so might just make the divorce worse (and more costly) for everyone. Work with your lawyer to consider options like mediation and collaborative divorce.
At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we can work with you to tackle your property division case.
To learn more or schedule a consultation with our firm, contact us online or via phone at (817) 497-8148.