Divorce mistakes: Part I

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The next few articles will cover some of the common mistakes people make in the process of divorce that make it more costly, with the first articles addressing financial mistakes and latter articles addressing child and family centered issues.

The most common mistake I’ve seen during my nearly 20 years as an attorney in this area is when one party does not know the monetary value of what they have as a couple. This is more common in partnerships (and yes marriage is a partnership) when either one person owns and operates a business or when this is a second, third or fourth marriage and the values of the other person’s property was not made clear at the onset of the marriage, and/or was not made obvious during the marriage.

It’s not uncommon that a new client comes into the office and believes they will be financially destitute if there is a divorce. When asked why they believe that they usually explain that there is a business which they know very little about and their spouse has led them to believe the business is going under.

That may be true in some cases but when I ask how do they know this for sure I usually get a shrug and a reluctant admission that they’ve never seen any financial records of the business or of their spouse, but it sure feels that way because they don’t ever spend any money, go on any vacations and (my client) they’ve had to pitch in financially over the years.

Wouldn’t you like to know for sure before you throw in the towel and start hoarding Top Ramen soup? Or worse yet stay in an abusive marriage because you’re afraid you’ll be financially destitute?

There are tools at a lawyer’s disposal for determining the value of assets, both before filing for a divorce and after. You can help by staying alert and bringing in whatever financial records of the marital assets you can (legally) obtain for review.

Information is empowering. Let us know if we can help empower you.

•••

Call Merrilee A. Parr at (208) 667-1227. Ms. Parr has owned her own law practice in northern Idaho since 1997 after working in the Coeur d’Alene City Attorney’s office in the prosecutor’s office. She has extensive pre-legal experience, which includes working as a caseworker for Child Protective Services and a case manager for the Arizona Supreme Court (Foster Care Review Board).

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