Divorce is a personal and often difficult event that can have profound emotional, physical and financial effects on you. That being said, the best financial advice I would give to someone going through a divorce is to get it done as quickly as possible once it has been determined that the relation cannot be reconciled.
Some people will argue that time will provide an opportunity for reconciliation. I’d argue that increased time adds complexity, emotion and expense.
Going through a divorce involves a lot of changes. Usually it entails changes for your children, changes in residency, and changes in your financial situation. But, once you get through the initial onslaught, your reaction may be to catch your breath and coast for a little while. This is a mistake.
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A significant part of the separation process involves financial disclosure. You and your partner are required to show your pre-marital financial status, your financial assets acquired while married, and your post-separation financial status. The longer your post-separation period extends, the more financial documentation you will be required to be shared. This contributes to legal expenses because your legal team will need to sift through more financial data. More importantly, the emotional expense can be debilitating.
Nevertheless, after the initial separation, many couples are happy to let sleeping dogs lie for a little while. This is actually the time when you and your partner should be working on creating a separation agreement. The problem is this; the longer you are out of your co-existent status, the more independent you both become until someone decides to tip the applecart and actively pursue a divorce. Things can go from relative harmony to complete discord. The claws can come out and suddenly your ex is seeking everything he or she can get. You can go from talking to silence. You can go from collaboration to division. You can go from being amicable to hostile. You can go from mediation to preparing to go to war.
This can affect your relationship permanently. It can impact your ability to attend mutual events, or force your friends to choose sides. An argument about assets can escalate into an argument about everything.
My soundest recommendation is to resolve things as quickly as possible. Time is good when we’re talking about healing, but don’t delay when it comes to legal aspects of your separation and divorce. Emotions may spike, and it becomes less about fair and all about winning.
You may not be in the mood to immerse yourself in this process all at once, but the lingering effects are far better than the everlasting after-taste of a bitter, drawn out divorce.