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A few mistakes can cost dearly during divorce proceedings

For couples everywhere, including those in Tennessee, divorce not only breaks hearts but can also take a financial toll. For these reasons, anyone who is considering divorce should try their best to set emotions aside and approach the process of property division carefully and rationally.

Too much is at stake financially to enter single life without the resources that are legitimately due any spouse. This is especially true for older couples who are close to retirement age. Their plans will undoubtedly change and they will need as much in assets as they can legitimately take from the marriage.

Many couples divide marital chores, including finances. Normally, one partner pays the bills and monitors income and spending. When divorce is imminent, however, both spouses need to see their entire financial picture, including liabilities and assets. Bank statements and tax returns should be examined by both spouses. All debts should be paid off by the end of the divorce process.

Many spouses want to keep the marital home as a financial asset, but in most cases it ultimately proves too costly. The spouse who keeps the house will have to maintain it and pay property taxes. These ongoing costs often drain an individual's savings. Selling the property later often becomes difficult, especially in tougher economic times, which often means an individual will have financial trouble until better and more affordable housing can be found. A smarter decision is often to sell this asset and split the proceeds.

Both spouses also must note how much the family typically spends on everything from food and clothing to entertainment. Some expenses can be eliminated and some can be cut back. It is also important to keep in mind that some expenses are always unforeseen.

Whether or not a divorce is amicable, approaching the situation with a level head can help reduce the amount of stress involved. While those involved should try to be knowledgeable of all aspects of the division, seeking assistance from an attorney experienced with divorce and property division can help move forward in a beneficial way.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Divorce and Money: Six Costly Mistakes," Veronica Dagher, May 15, 2015

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