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6 valuable divorce tips

You're planning to ask your spouse for a divorce. You've been mulling it over now for nearly a year. After 15 years of marriage, you just feel like something got lost and it's time to move on.

You're wary, though. You know the pitfalls of a high-asset divorce. Not only do you want to fight to protect what's yours, what you've earned, but you want to avoid critical mistakes that could drag the process out.

To help you, here are six valuable tips:

  1. If you're going to make a big purchase, do it before you file. After you file, your spending may get restricted until the court settles the divorce. This is done because property has to get divided between both parties and that can become difficult or impossible if one person is spending a lot.
  2. Really look into your family's assets. If you only have a rough idea of the total assets you control, take time to dig deeper. For instance, check the tax return papers to see what your spouse claimed for the past five years.
  3. Don't make financial decisions emotionally. Make them logically. For instance, people will sometimes spend more than certain assets are even worth to determine who gets to keep them. They do this because neither person wants to give in or because they want to spite one another. Emotional choices can get costly.
  4. Before you file, get the paperwork together. You know you're going to file, so it gives you an advantage. Start collecting bank statements, tax returns, investment statements and other important paperwork in advance. After you file, your spouse may stop working with you or make it harder for you to find what you need.
  5. Understand the real value of your assets. For instance, do you think that the largest asset you control is your home? It may be the most expensive thing you bought, but a pension that pays out for years and years after retirement could be more valuable. When splitting up assets, you must understand their actual values and know which ones to fight for.
  6. Do not try to cheat. It's tempting to hide assets. If you put some money away in a private bank account, your spouse will never know. You can save it all for yourself. But you must realize that it's potentially illegal and it could constitute fraud. Do not do it. You're required to report all assets, so make sure that your report is really comprehensive.

Divorce often gets complicated, but you have the upper hand since you know it's coming. Take your time, look into all of your legal options, and use your time to get ready for the split. Doing so can make it go far more smoothly.

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