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Some key steps that can minimize the financial impact of divorce

Too often when couples divorce, their emotions interfere with their decision-making ability. So can their desire to just get the whole thing behind him. Experienced family law attorneys work to help ensure that their clients make decisions that will help minimize the negative financial impact of the divorce both in the near-term and long-term.

Following are some things that can help prevent a divorce from ruining your financial future:

-- Hire a financial advisor. Along with a good attorney, a financial expert can be a key part of your team. While it will cost some money up front, the advice you get can pay for itself many times over.

-- Avoid dealing with issues in court. The more things that you and your spouse can settle on your own with the help of your attorneys, the less you'll pay in legal fees. Being able to settle issues out of court can also ease the emotional strain on your children and yourself.

-- Understand the tax ramifications of child and spousal support. This is important whether you're the payer or the recipient.

-- Create a budget that fits with your new financial situation. Living as a single person often costs more than sharing a home. You may have to trim some expenditures. If you weren't the one managing the household finances in the marriage, you may benefit from budgeting assistance from an expert, or at least from one of the many budget apps available.

-- Be smart about debts. You'll want to minimize the amount of your spouse's debt for which you're responsible. Your attorney and financial advisor can help you work to get your name off of credit cards and accounts. You'll want to keep an eye on your credit score during and after divorce.

-- Find out the best way to handle retirement plans. Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans require a qualified domestic relations order, commonly known as a QDRO.

While your divorce proceedings likely will end soon enough, the decisions you make, good and bad, can follow you for the rest of your life. It's important to allow people like your attorney and financial advisor who are not emotionally invested in the marriage like you are to help you make good decisions.

Source: Bankrate, "10 ways to avoid divorce disaster," Steve Santiago, accessed June 10, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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