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Unassisted amicable divorces can lead to financial mistakes

Photo of Karen Lavin

A breakup of a marriage can be a stressful process. There are many decisions that need to be made before a divorce in Illinois can be finalized. With child custody, alimony and property division to consider, it is easy for people to feel overwhelmed during divorce proceedings.

Some couples try to finish the process as amicably as possible. They do not want to completely ruin the relationship with their ex-spouse, since the relationship might continue after a divorce--especially for those with children.

But experts warn that it can be financially dangerous to be overly nice in a divorce. They caution those going through the process to remember that their spouse will no longer have a legal or emotional responsibility to support them or to protect them from financial downfalls.

There are several ways for people to protect themselves from making financial mistakes during a divorce. One method, experts insist, is to hire professionals to help navigate the divorce. These professionals can include financial planners, divorce attorneys and mediators. These third parties may help remember details that people going through the divorce process may otherwise overlook.

Second, experts say details are important. Divorcing couples are warned not to overlook financial decisions out of fear of ruining the relationship with a former spouse. If details are overlooked, people can end up financially much worse off than they expected.

Some of these details include decisions about taxes, including who will get child tax credits. Another detail to consider is whether anyone can really afford to remain in the family home, or if it should be sold.

Those in Illinois who are going through a divorce, or who are contemplating a divorce, need to remember to protect their own interests first. Divorce can be tumultuous, but with the proper planning, attention to details and help, it can reach a successful end.

Source: Reuters, "Divorce mistakes you can make by being too nice," Geoff Williams, June 26, 2012

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