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Does It Hurt or Help to be Nice in a Divorce?

Does It Hurt or Help to be Nice in a Divorce?

Divorce does not have to be contentious.  In fact, you could be making it harder for yourself (and your children) if you approach your divorce with revenge in your heart.  Taking the high road is not always easy, but there are several reasons you may benefit from it:

You can save money.

If you and your spouse can be on good terms during your divorce, you will find it pays off.  Not only will the process go a lot smoother for you emotionally, but you can also save money if you are able to stay out of court.  Settlement is a less expensive and less time-consuming way for you and your ex to reach an agreement that will result in a divorce that both of you can live with.

You can get your fair share of assets.

Your marital estate includes all property, assets, debts, and liabilities acquired by both of you during the course of the marriage.  It does not include property that you brought to the marriage, or that came to you via gift or inheritance.  You and your spouse will need to compile a comprehensive list of all marital property and make decisions about who gets what, typically with the help of your respective attorneys. 

You can protect yourself financially.

One thing divorcing couples may not give much thought to is how a divorce will affect their individual credit scores.  You and your spouse should get your credit reports from all three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and see if you can resolve any outstanding issues prior to your divorce.  You will then need to cancel your joint accounts and open separate accounts.  Any joint accounts that remain open means you will still share responsibility with your spouse for any outstanding debt.

You can make things easier on your kids.

Hopefully, both of you share a common goal of protecting your children financially and emotionally.  Your concern for them needs to extend to putting the proper financial protections in place.  While your spouse may be the current beneficiary of your life insurance policy, retirement plan, pension plan, or trust, this will probably change after the divorce is final.  Both of you should work together on an estate plan that protects your children should something happen to either or both of you while your children are still minors. 

Determining whether to end a marriage is not an easy decision or one to be taken lightly. Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne is here to provide you with guidance and advice regarding this difficult decision and all of the decisions that you will face throughout the divorce process.