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5 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your Divorce Settlement


As a divorce attorney and mediator for over 35 years, I have seen many spouses make lots of financial mistakes.

The biggest mistake divorcing spouses make is being kept in the dark about finances. If your spouse has always handled all of the financial decisions in your household and you don't have any information about your income and assets, your spouse will have an unfair advantage over you when it comes time to settle the financial issues in your divorce.

Here are some more financial mistakes to avoid:

1. Don’t Be a Financial Victim:

If you suspect divorce is in the air get as much information as you can now. Make copies of important financial records such as account statements for savings, brokerage, and retirement accounts as well as checking accounts, charge card statements, and tax returns.

If your spouse uses or moves assets without your knowledge, you may have to hire legal and forensic accounting experts to help you locate and value the assets.

2. Consider Mediation:

If you and your spouse can work together to reach a fair settlement on most or all of the issues in your divorce, like child custody, child support, alimony, and property division, choosing mediation to resolve your divorce case may save you thousands of dollars in legal fees and emotional stress.

The mediation path to divorce involves working with an unbiased mediator, usually a lawyer, whose function is to assist a couple in the peaceful process of making decisions together and arriving at an agreement that is fair to both.

For people who have never experienced it, mediation is surprisingly and stunningly effective. It is quick, inexpensive, and not adversarial. It is a three-part process, consisting of the negotiations, the preparation of an agreement, and preparation and submission of the divorce documents to a judge for signature.

As a divorce attorney and mediator, my role is to keep you talking, on track, ensure negotiations are fair, and to offer suggestions when you hit a roadblock.

The focus of mediation is for you to control your own divorce. Spouses have the opportunity to discuss their personal needs and priorities and to arrive together at an agreement that works for both of them.

3. Don’t Hire a Combative Attorney to Punish Your Spouse:

This is just a bad idea! Except in extreme cases, most courts won’t punish your spouse financially for being a bad person. If you hire an attorney to punish your spouse, it will cost you money! Increased attorney hours to battle your spouse out of revenge means higher divorce costs and that means fewer assets for the family. Try to remove your emotions, and think of this divorce as a business negotiation. Save your sanity and your finances to move forward to a better life.

4. Produce an Accurate Budget:

It’s important not to underestimate your living expenses. Prepare a budget including everything you are going to need to live. If you don’t create an accurate budget, you will have difficulty paying your bills and won’t be living the lifestyle you deserve.

5. Don’t Stay Emotionally Attached to Assets in Negotiations:

Your home, the pension you earned, the antique sculpture you purchased during your marriage-these assets are often attached to emotions that can affect negotiations. Don’t hold on to a home you can’t afford. Focus on how to maximize your finances and negotiate wisely for the assets that will serve you best.

If you are interested in learning more about how to avoid financial mistakes in your divorce, call me.

As a psychologically trained mediator and divorce attorney, I will be happy to share with you everything you need to know about the divorce process and the way to get the best financial results!

All our FREE 1-HOUR CONSULTATIONS are discreetly and conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Stay healthy and safe!!

Warm regards,


New York Divorce Lawyer and Mediator Lois Brenner is available for a FREE consultation.

Call 212.734.1551.