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One costly property division mistake that should be avoided

When many Texas residents prepare to end their marriage, they take an approach that is informed by the advice of friends and family, as well as what they have learned from television and the movies. They sometimes overlook information that comes from the legal community, perhaps in the belief that attorneys are only concerned with how much money they can bill for their services. In reality, however, most divorce attorneys are sincerely concerned about the well-being of their clients, and want to be helpful in guiding them through child custody, property division and any other divorce matters.

One of the most important pieces of advice that an attorney can provide is the need to make financial divorce decisions that are based in reason, not emotion. When it comes to dividing personal property, couples can make things far easier by working together, rather than turning the process into a battleground. It is not uncommon for spouses to spend more money paying for legal fees associated with certain items than the items are ultimately worth.

This is most common when the item in question has significant personal value. Examples include wedding gifts, items connected to shared children or things that represent milestones in the relationship, like the first piece of "real" furniture that the couple purchased, or the Christmas ornaments that have been collected over the years. Fighting over these items, however, comes at considerable cost. In many cases, both spouses are shocked when they see how high their legal fees have climbed as a result of negotiating for items that have relatively little value.

The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to begin the divorce process with a commitment to moving through the property division portion with a sense of collaboration. At the end of the day, it is far easier to divvy up the Christmas ornaments and take a few losses on favorite items than it is to spend a great deal of money fighting over things. After all, by saving money on excessive legal fees, both Texas spouses will have more to spend replacing lost items with new belongings, which can be a cathartic process.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 Things I Learned As A Divorce Attorney", A. Rodriguez, Dec. 26, 2016

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