Divorce: Five Financial Mistakes to Avoid

Take action and avoid these five mistakes to ensure a fair divorce proceeding.

When marriage is kaput, in many ways, women often turn a blind eye to the reality of the situation. We want to stay on good terms with our ex. That may ease the children's transition. It may be for money matters, or simply we want to remain friends after all the history we share. We want to be fair.

However, that could mean we open ourselves up to risk. Divorce isn't easy. Here are five mistakes you should avoid to have a fair divorce proceeding:

• Not calling a lawyer. You will need advice from an impartial outsider. Divorce can be a matrimonial battlefield, and you've got to look out for yourself. That's especially true if you have children. The poverty rate for children living with divorced mothers is typically four times higher than for children in two-parent families.

Ask your recently divorced friends and colleagues or your tax or estate lawyer for divorce lawyer recommendations. Don't use the same lawyer your spouse has chosen. Saving money here is not the issue. It's in your best interest to have someone looking out for you, not someone to push the divorce through smoothly and cheaply. Be sure the lawyer specializes in matrimonial law. Use their time wisely. After all, you're paying several hundred dollars an hour for their expertise.

• Not having credit in your name alone. It's crucial to establish your own credit record. Before you make any sudden moves, you'll want to make certain that you have a credit card in your name alone. If you do not, apply for one immediately, before you agree to separate. After you have your own credit in place, close all joint credit card accounts. The balance must be paid off before your creditors will close the account.

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