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10 mistakes that guarantee you’ll get screwed in your divorce settlement Most Liked Hot Conversation

  1. Fail to plan ahead.
    Men who are planning to leave tend to clean out bank accounts and hide assets, which are extremely difficult to recover. Women need to pre-plan for divorce just as men do. When the marriage starts to go bad, when he stops having sex with you or stops coming home at night, don’t make excuses, go to a lawyer and find out how to protect yourself.

    If you’re the one who wants a divorce, figure out the family finances before you even tell your husband you want out. If your husband has been handling your finances, you may not know enough about what you have. Visit a divorce lawyer and a financial planner (preferably one who specializes in divorce planning) and get your financial ducks in a row before you even ask for a divorce.

  2. Assume your lawyer will take care of everything.
    For many women in our generation, getting taken care of was the norm. So when divorce strikes, our first inclination is to put our fate in the hands of a white knight, another protector, our lawyer. Yes, you need a lawyer, but before you even walk into that lawyer’s office, you must educate yourself about divorce law in general and your state’s laws in particular. Get on the Internet or buy a book and start researching. If you’re not fully educated and proactive, you will wind up with a settlement you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
  3. Choose the wrong lawyer.
    Don’t let desperation lead you to settle for the first lawyer you consult. When choosing a lawyer, consider his or her experience. You want a lawyer who specializes in divorce in your jurisdiction. The best way to get a good divorce lawyer is through a recommendation from a satisfied customer, preferably another older woman. So many women end up hating their attorneys that a satisfied customer is your best source of recommendations.
  4. Fail to consult a lawyer at all.
    If you can’t afford a lawyer, but your husband has substantial assets, you can ask the court to order that he pay your legal fees, which is not unusual in cases of extreme inequality of assets. If there is a possibility that you may get a substantial settlement from a wealthy husband but can’t pay your lawyer a retainer up front, an attorney may agree to accept payment on contingency, as with a personal injury case.
  5. Rely on a mediator.
    Mediators are supposed to resolve issues without conflict and save legal fees, but savvy divorce lawyers are adamant that you should not go to mediation unless the playing field is totally level between you and your husband. In order to get a settlement, mediators push the person most likely to agree – and that’s usually the woman. Mediators are supposed to be impartial and also inform both parties of their rights, but mediators are human and sometimes inadequately trained. If there are any contested financial issues, you may lose out big-time in mediation.
  6. Fail to ask for enough alimony.
    Marriage is a legal and economic partnership and should be viewed in the same way as a business partnership. A woman who stayed home has invested in the skills of her husband for twenty years. Instead of putting money in the bank, she put it into a person. Women need to calculate what that investment was and negotiate from that. Run the numbers: what would it have cost your husband to pay someone to take care of the children, clean the house, cook the meals, and facilitate his ability to work overtime and get better training? Project the numbers outward so you know what your income is likely to be in the future, before and after you start collecting Social Security and/or your husband’s pension. If you can’t run the numbers yourself, see a certified financial planner who specializes in divorce.
  7. Insist on keeping the house.
    Some houses can be more of a liability than an asset. Older divorcees need to run the numbers again before deciding to stay in the house. You may be better off selling the house and splitting the proceeds with your husband. Emotionally, it may also make sense to get out of a place you’ve lived in with him for twenty years and start fresh in an apartment or condo, where the maintenance is taken care of.
  8. Get bogged down in the Tchotchke Wars.
    Too many older women get obsessed with fighting over furniture, antiques, knickknacks, and other possessions, losing the big picture in the process. It’s easy to waste your time and worse, your attorney’s time, in petty battles, but fighting over minor possessions just makes negotiations on the important issues, like the house and support, more difficult. Follow the usual rule for splitting possessions: you both get what you came into the marriage with, and split the rest. As for things that you acquired jointly that you really want, be a savvy negotiator. Make a list of your must-haves, making sure to include some less important items that you’re willing to let go. Then “compromise” on the non-essentials.
  9. Be overly anxious to get closure.
    As attorney Elizabeth Bennett says, “If a woman hasn’t expected the divorce, she has a three-year learning process to deal with the three major issues: relationship and identity; home; and career. It can’t be done in six months and she can’t be pushed.” Too many women rush into divorce settlements that might be ill-advised because they’re seeking “closure,” but sometimes the desire for closure can mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and a marginal one. Remember, a piece of paper does not give you closure. Only time and working on yourself can do that.
  10. Believe your husband about his assets.
    Women who have let their husbands handle the finances for twenty-five years have enormous resistance to finding out what the family’s assets really are. It may seem easier just to believe what your husband tells you, but as attorney Lynn Gold-Biken says, “When he decides to leave, he’s been to a lawyer and taken the financial documents out of the house.” She recommends not signing anything you don’t have a copy of, ever. Don’t sign anything without legal representation either. If you suspect your husband is hiding assets, talk to your lawyer about your options. You may be able to order him to produce financial documentation in court, or you may have to consult a forensic accountant to uncover his assets.
Divorce After 50: How to Save Yourself and Lose Him
6 keys to help you survive (even thrive) when a long-term marriage ends

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Posted in family & relationships, live it! lists, love & sex, work & money.

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28 Responses

  1. Generic Image suegas says

    WE SHOLD BRONZE THIS POST !!!  THIS IS MANDATORY READING FOR ANY WOMAN GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE . THANKS ERICA!!!!!!!  

    14 like

  2. Generic Image parent says

    If you are thinking divorce photocopy all legal looking documents you have…. Also make sure that your husband does not close joint bank accounts….. they can as banks let your husband close them !!  Ask for printouts if the accounts have been closed…. you need that information for yourself.

    13 like

  3. Jaidie Jaidie says

    Also, even if your marriage is stable, make sure all investment accounts. bank accounts etc require two signatures before monies can be moved.  As well, if possible have a car in your name.  Monitor credit card statements regularily.  Be cognizant of YOUR financial affairs.  The just in case stuff!!

    12 like

  4. UniquelyMe UniquelyMe says

    If you have children don’t forget about the life insurance policy on your soon to be X…. for the benefit of sustaining the children after his death. If he owns the policy he can strip out all the cash without your knowing it. Best case.. the policy is on his life you are the owner and he is the payor. Also don’t forget the beneficiary arrangement. If you are the beneficiary upon his death who is the beneficiary if something happens to you?? If the children are minors there can be wording in the arrangement for distribution during their minority….. I’m sorry is my career coming out in this post? I tried to explain what my concern was during my divorce hearing and the Judge didn’t get my concern. Fortunately for me it wasn’t an issue, my X lived beyond my kids minority. But it is a REAL issue that should be addressed. If something happens to him how will you take care of the kids without the support?

    Also…. why not ask for a cost of living increase based on the posted COL index for child support? It would eliminate the need to go back to court over and over again.

    We all learn from experience and that’s what I know from mine. Good luck ladies… just remember you are the only person that can be responsible for YOUR future. Protect yourself.

    11 like

  5. Generic Image Laurette says

    This was a great piece!  I am going thru a divorce and the ONE thing I told myself OVER AND OVER is that this is a business deal..The ENTIRE marital asset pie is both of yours, not his from which to throw you a bone.  You OWN 50% of what is in that marital asset pie.  It is tough, but I have been agreeable to much…however, since he believes I don’t own 50%, he has fought me tooth and nail, gone thru 2 attorneys, 3 mediators, a GAL and parenting coordinator.  I stood my ground, he dragged me thru 5 days of court for the final hearing….and the court order came back that I get 50% of the marital assets.  Had he been able to do that from the beginning, we would not have spent so much $$$ on legal fees.  But if we hadn’t gone to court, I never would have seen the 50%.   It is THE most painful thing I’ve ever been thru, but please remember to STAND STRONG, RECOGNIZE THIS IS A BUSINESS DEAL AND LEAVE WITH 50% OF WHAT YOUR MARITAL ASSETS ARE WORTH. HE WILL TRY AND LEAVE WITH WHATEVER HE CAN GET, WHY SHOULDN’T YOU, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S YOUR STATE’S LAW????  An opening line in a divorce book I read is “marriage is about love, divorce is about money”…sad but true.

    And one more thing….call or contact a forensic accountant, who can be brought in to assess/value his business.  While speaking with him initially, ask him/her WHO THEY WOULD RECOMMEND AS A GOOD DIVORCE LAWYER.  THAT will send you in the right direction….you need a great lawyer, even to only get your 50%.  Trust me.

    17 like

    • Erica Manfred Erica Manfred says

      Great post, especially the idea about asking forensic accountant to recommend lawyer. 

      4 like

    • DaisyMae DaisyMae says

      Would it be possible to get an e-mail address.  I am in the process of “all the above” in your post and would like someone’s (yours) opinion on a few things before I get in too deep.

      Please respond, if you will, to   journey2628@gmail.com

      Thanks so much.

      2 like

  6. Generic Image ladye says

    I appreciated the honesty of this article.  It is very truthful and I hope the women who read it will pay close attention. 

     

    4 like

  7. Generic Image Chickadee says

    What do you do when your ex runs off to another country, cannot be located, and continues to work, and save for himself for more than a decade without paying a penny of child support? I was left with a large family from elementary age kids- high school age and no financial resources to hire a lawyer for prosecution abroad?

    Now it is almost 15 years ago, and he remarried and I suspect has a lot of savings–enough to buy a house clear out. My youngest is starting college and the one older is 21 and studying. Their father doesn’t contribute to their education or support.

    How can I get him to pay the children who are still studying? My job (now back in the US) is low-paying and my two youngest children–20 and 21 are barely self-sufficient.

    Any ideas?

    2 like

    • Erica Manfred Erica Manfred says

      If he’s in another country I can’t imagine anything you could do except push guilt.  Send the kids to visit and tell them to insist on college tuition.

      1 like

  8. Helen Keene Myles Helen Keene Myles says

    Hello, This is Helen.

    I believe we have a lot in common. I was probably raise in the same manner you were and I probably have encounter some of the same frustrations with men. I am currently going through a divorce. I am not sure how I feel about it. I guess that mean I am numb. However, one thing that consistently comes to mind when I give the marriage a thought — since I have been separated for more years than the years we shared together including having children — is how does one goes from being told by her husband that she would go to heaven [because of my ways] to being resented and being described as having major issues? I have not been with the man since October 2000. Well, now that that is out of the way, being alone I have found peace. I feel healed. I enjoyed your post. Have a great day!

    10 like

  9. Generic Image g says

    I wish I had this information when I was going through my divorce!!!!

    5 like

  10. Carolan Ross Carolan Ross says

    I made nearly every one of these mistakes in my divorce, at least 7 out of 10. SO TRUE!

    Agreed – BRONZE THIS POST!  This list should be required reading for all women who feel there’s even the most remote possibility of a divorce in their future.

    In my cloud of depression during that era, my biggest error was in doing virtually nothing at all.  I didn’t trust my ex nor lawyers at all.  Most days were spent in such a fog that I just felt numb.  To say I was overwhelmed would be putting it mildly, more like nearly comatose.  The ‘mediator’ was a complete joke.  I insisted on keeping the house (dumb). 

    Meanwhile the evil ex stole HUGE amounts of money, cleaned out several accounts including even funds that had been put away for our sons’ college, retirement accounts, etc.  Silly me, who actually thought that since I could prove he took all this money that he’d get his due, however any monies transfered during a marriage are considered… get this – a ‘gift to the marriage’ and no law can get it back.  Don’t wait nor trust, take your money and put it elsewhere immediately.

    7 like

  11. Adoptsalot Adoptsalot says

    Some other don’t forgets:

    Ask for half of the Frequent Flyer miles, if there are any… I know someone who got half a million  miles!

    Are there season tickets to anything?

    Be sure to get half of the 401k, stocks/bonds/CD’s, stock options, IRA, or  Roth  if they exist. Bonuses might also be on the table.       Credit Union? (I know someone who hid over a 100K here)

    If you have been married 10 years or more, and your husband works/worked for a company that offers pensions, you may be able to get  part of that.

    Anything that is paid off, is more ‘vauable’ than anything with debt attached, (take the paid off Prius not the car note ridden Mercedes)

    Are there other properties? Did one of you inherit Mom or Dad’s place? is there a summer place or condo? It may be up for grabs, if not, it might be a good negotiating pawn.

    REALLY GOOD furniture, sheets, appliances, curtains…. are expensive to replace. Put them on your list. THINK hard about what you will have to replace when you split residences, and list the good stuff.

    Watch out for debts too. Auto, house, and credit card debt and all existing bills (kids braces-college tuition…), are all going to get split unless one of you can show they did not create the debt.

    This is a good time to really look at those back taxes. Is there anything in them that worries you? That you have overlooked? That could come back to bite you both if things got ugly?

    NEVER get caught hiding assets from a judge. This is very risky, if discovered, you WILL lose…BIG TIME.

    The person who files first or asks for the divorce, has already planned and hidden assets.

    9 like

    • Adoptsalot Adoptsalot says

      PS- If you are the one filing, try not to file  on the grounds of ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ unless you both are just tired of eah other. Only settle for ‘ID’ if the divorce is mutual.

       If he cheated, try to file ”Adultery”, if he beat you or abused you and you can proove it (police records usually needed) file ’Abuse’ , if he is a gamble or addict say so.      This is not the time to be prim and proper and worry about what others think. 

      5 like

      • suzydu suzydu says

        Could you elaborate a little on the grounds for divorce that involve addiction?  I am divorcing my husband due to alcoholism and drug addiction.  How is it worded?  What is it called?  He also committed adultery AFTER I left him because of drugs and alcohol.  We did get back together for about a month and then he resumed his relationship with the girlfriend again.  Damn it hurts not being more important that alcohol and drugs; and damn if it doesn’t hurt that he cheated on me too.  What a mess.

        8 like

      • suzydu suzydu says

        Oh, and this is for Erica M.  I bought your book and it has been my best friend for the last year.  I literally sleep with it like a security blanket.  Thank you!

        0 like

  12. Generic Image Carla Homolk says

    You said it sisters! I am tired of being pushed around in this world. Another thing to remember during a nasty divorce is to see if you can take half of some of his vital organs. He only needs 1 kidney to survive. With technology today half of his liver is enough. Some of these organs can fetch a pretty penny overseas. I was going to recommend his testicles, but im sure that was the first thing that most of you took as soon as you got married to him. Men need to understand that if they are going to marry us, they have to be willing to pay the price. I mean, do they really think they can get sex for free for all those years? What dreamland are they living in? 

    18 like

  13. Generic Image Anonymous says

    Don’t forget to keep the kids and don’t let him have them. That way you can get more money in child support

    4 like

  14. Generic Image Anonymous says

    “Marriage is a legal and economic partnership and should be viewed in the same way as a business partnership. A woman who stayed home has invested in the skills of her husband for twenty years. Instead of putting money in the bank, she put it into a person.”

    I don’t understand why there are people in this world that feel like someone is obligated to support them. Once a marriage ends it’s time to move on with your life. The only financial support that a person should receive from their ex spouse is child support. The author of this article needs to get off the “victim” thing. You’re not a victim and he has the right to move with his life without paying you alimony. I’m so glad that states are doing away with alimony laws. Men aren’t the only ones that pay alimony women are paying it too and it’s unfair to the payer. No one is a victim and no one is violating woman’s rights. He paid for you to live for free for all those years and now you want him to continue to pay while you sit around your house.

    24 like

    • jacie39@gmail.com jacie39@gmail.com says

      Oh I had to sat something this just burned me up…your wife takes care of you your kids and when they are sick, cleans the house, does the clothes, even washes walls everyday. That is a job. In my situation try doing it when you are disabled! I feel no pity for myself at all, but when seizures come in my sleep or during the day and my spine disease hurts so bad I can barely stand it I still do all the chores and take care of my kids when they were younger. Now I find out he has seen a lawyer put down 1500.00 for a retainer and every time he bellows he must pay 300.00 a hour. I get a free talk to a lawyer from his work and I hope I say the right things. He said he must pay me half his wages and ccp and all other stuff for old age up front and many more things I never knew about plus sell his 2013 car and split that. He says he is so scared because he is so broke but I don’t trust him..Disability will help me out immensely but he says my 16 year old and him won’t make it for food or a place who do I believe? I am so scared about all of this as I get drop seizures and get hurt all the time, he doesn’t care but will put my daughters welfare in danger if he is so broke what has he done? My daughter and I don’t get along and he made it that way bu spoiling her I am really worried :(  

      I

      I  
      Now

      1 like

  15. Generic Image Anonymous says

    “Marriage is a legal and economic partnership and should be viewed in the same way as a business partnership. A woman who stayed home has invested in the skills of her husband for twenty years. Instead of putting money in the bank, she put it into a person.”

    I don’t understand why there are people in this world that feel like someone is obligated to support them. Once a marriage ends it’s time to move on with your life. The only financial support that a person should receive from their ex spouse is child support. The author of this article needs to get off the “victim” thing. You’re not a victim and he has the right to move with his life without paying you alimony. I’m so glad that states are doing away with alimony laws. Men aren’t the only ones that pay alimony women are paying it too and it’s unfair to the payer. No one is a victim and no one is violating woman’s rights. He paid for you to live for free for all those years and now you want him to continue to pay while you sit around your house. 

    21 like

  16. Generic Image Anonymous says

    “You said it sisters! I am tired of being pushed around in this world. Another thing to remember during a nasty divorce is to see if you can take half of some of his vital organs. He only needs 1 kidney to survive. With technology today half of his liver is enough. Some of these organs can fetch a pretty penny overseas. I was going to recommend his testicles, but im sure that was the first thing that most of you took as soon as you got married to him. Men need to understand that if they are going to marry us, they have to be willing to pay the price. I mean, do they really think they can get sex for free for all those years? What dreamland are they living in? ”

    I think that the biggest mistake that men make is that they are too concerned with looks when it comes to relationships. I see so many nice guys marrying garbage like the women that I see in this forum. A lot of men marry women that are so superficial and it’s sad. This is why they get screwed in relationships. A lot of good women get passed over for losers. Then when the women get older the men grow tired of them because his attraction was based on looks.

    9 like

  17. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I’m the poster of the last two postings and I would like to say one last thing. I feel that the evolution of human beings has reached a point where the differences between the two genders are becoming less. Women are rising up and making good salaries just like men. I would just like to make it clear that I have no problem with this and I encourage it.

    One thing that’s changed is that there has been an increase of divorce settlements where women need to support their ex husbands. There will come a day when hard working men and women will join together to abolish alimony and make the family court system more fair. Those that have abused the court system for their own financial benefit will be forced to work and on that day I will smile :) . I hate con artist and free loaders. 

    in case your wondering I’ve never been married.  I do want to get married one day, but if I do it will never be anyone like any of you. 

    Goodbye!

    32 like

  18. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I wish I would have seen this before I got divorced. I was a mess during the time of the divorce. My ex used it against me. We have two children together so I never thought he was capable of doing what he did. I was a stay at home mom when we were married. I had no income. He left me with mortgage payment, car payment and all bills. He would give me $25.00 every two weeks until I filed for child support. They had to start taking it right out of his paycheck because he still refused to pay. I was so stupid. He was and is still a manipulator. He had a lawyer… I did not. We went to mediation never even seen a judge. The house went into foreclosure and the car got repoed. I couldn’t afford it all alone. I worked with the bank to try and save my home. I did a loan modification and got approved. Somehow my name is on all the papers for the house except it wasn’t on the loan. I don’t know how that happened. I’m sure he had something to do with it now. But I payed all the money for the modification and did all the paperwork. But he had to sign too. I had a deadline to get the papers back to the bank. He told me he would not sign them unless I signed the divorce papers … so I did. Sometime later he called and told me the bank denied the modification. I was upset. It never crossed my mind that he was lying. I found out today he lied to me. I think he is very very mad about having to pay child support. I believe his intentions are to try and get me to break so that I give him the kids. And then he doesn’t have to pay anymore. This is his first summer with the kids. I see them every 2 weeks in the summer. Its hard on me and my kids. They cry on the phone and when they have to leave. But than he will say things like they don’t miss me at all and has an excuse for when ever I want to talk to them. It breaks my heart that he does this to me. Its hard to believe. Before he had his girlfriend he barely ever took the kids for visits and when he did they would come home filthy… uncared for. Now his girlfriend does everything for them. I don’t care, I’m glad that they are being cared for now. But he doesn’t care that the kids and I have a strong bond. I think it makes him jealous. I have no family. So I had no good advice. I try and call the bank and they say I’m not authorized to even speak to someone. Its a huge bank. Its all complicated. But anyways yea… I got screwed big time. But I’m stronger now and I will prevail. I will never give up my kids to him and I will never trust him ever again or forgive him. He kicked me while I was down. He stabbed me in the back. He pushed me down when I was already falling. If someone reads this that is going thru a divorce.. don’t make the same mistakes. If I wouldn’t have been so lost and confused during the divorce I could have taken care of business much better. But he played on my weaknesses. On my moms death. On the death of our marriage. He threatened to take away my kids from me… that id never see them again. He said I was crazy and noone would ever side with me. Or believe me. I thought I knew him. I guess he really knew me because he manipulated and played me so well.

    8 like

  19. Generic Image Anonymous says

    The ppl up above the last post must be new girlfriends or wives of the ex hubbies…. or the hubbies themselves. They sound pretty bitter. Its funny how completely stupid they sound. They have not a clue and should not breed. We do not need more ppl like u in this world.

    18 like

  20. Generic Image Anonymous says

    Wow, how completely rude and insensitive. Perhaps you are the hubby…or someone’s ex hubby. A woman-hater maybe. Very cold.

    18 like

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