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The risks of settling your divorce too quickly

In February, we wrote about some common money mistakes people often make during divorce. High on the list is agreeing to an unfair settlement simply to move the process along. By "unfair," we don't just mean morally unfair (each spouse should be entitled to roughly half, after all).

Rather, we mean accepting a settlement that could leave you without the assets or other resources needed to live reasonably comfortably after divorce. Once the marital dissolution agreement is solidified by a judge in the final decree of divorce, you may never be able to renegotiate the terms of property division. For this and many other reasons, it's important to make these decisions only after consulting with an experienced family law attorney.

In today's post, we'll discuss another settlement mistake that can occur when you just want to end your combative divorce as quickly as possible. That mistake is agreeing to settlement terms that require future cooperation and negotiation with your ex-spouse.

A Huffington Post article gives the example of what do to about the marital residence. Perhaps one spouse moves out and the other spouse wants to keep the house for a few years until the kids head off to college. When the children are grown, the ex-spouses agree to sell the home together.

The mistake here is the assumption that you and your ex will somehow become more cooperative and less combative with one another in the future. If your spouse has a history of being stubborn and inflexible (and is being so during the divorce), is there any reason to believe that things will be better a couple years from now?

Moreover, it's important to remember that you have leverage and negotiating power right now, but that probably won't be the case in the future. This means that if your ex-spouse decides he or she doesn't want to abide by the original terms of the agreement (related to the house), you have little choice but to give in or take them to court. That translates into a huge waste of time, money and emotional energy.

Divorce is not a fun process, and the temptation to wrap things up ASAP is understandable. But any extra work and frustration you endure now will likely be work and frustration that you don't have to endure in the future.

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