Splitting up may be the right thing to do. To help you recognize the mistakes you may be making now -- and to avoid future missteps -- here are 16 of the biggest and most frequent divorce blunders.
Not paying attention to taxes
If you think your ex did a number on your finances, be prepared to meet your worst enemy. Without keeping a close eye on taxes, your divorce could lead you into a financial train wreck. "Many times, after one spouse takes the house, he or she realizes after a few years it's unaffordable -- and then gets clobbered on the taxes," says Gayle Smith, family lawyer and author of Divorce and Money. "And if one person takes certain stocks, be sure to consider capital gains taxes if you are going to liquidate." The cost of taxes should be factored into every monetary decision you make as you write up your divorce settlement papers.
Being too generous to win back your spouse
If you find yourself on the wrong end of things (that is, being left vs. leaving or you were caught cheating), you may be tempted to win him or her back back by being overly generous. It won't work, says Jill Brooke, editor of First Wives World. "When you're negotiating a divorce, it's a business deal. Do not accept crumbs when you are entitled to half the pie."
Flaunting a new lover
Although you may be ready jump right back into the swinging single lifestyle, it's better to approach dating slowly and cautiously. "The longer you wait, the better," says Vicki Lansky, parenting expert and author of It's Not Your Fault KoKo Bear. Most heartbreaking is the feeling of abandonment children feel when potential parental figures come and go. "The rotating door is hard on children." Flaunting a new love interest around your ex- when divorce wounds are still fresh isn't helpful, either. The best policy is to keep your new romances on the down low until you're sure someone will be sticking around.
Making agreements outside the settlement papers
Divorce is not the time for oral agreements. Your ex can promise you the moon, but without clarifying details in your official settlement, these promises won't hold up in court. "Normally there is a clause in the agreement that it is the full agreement and no other papers or oral agreements will be considered," says Smith. It may not feel right to make everything so official, but in the end, your ex- can't snatch away your furniture or deny visitation. You have proof.
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