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Is it possible to be too 'nice' during an amicable divorce?

When people hear about vindictive divorces, they often want to avoid getting into that situation. Many people pride themselves in divorcing amicably, but is there such a thing as being too "nice" during a divorce? There might be.

Back in 2009, for instance, one couple divorced amicably after the husband revealed that he was gay. The wife accepted three years of monthly alimony (in the amount of $1,245) rather than the five years allowed under law because she planned to finish her degree and teach at a college in that time frame.

However, she was soon diagnosed with colon cancer. If her ex-husband had stuck to the settlement, she would have little left for living expenses after making a house payment.

It's important to avoid risky financial moves in this sort of situation. Here are just a few things to keep in mind. First, avoiding getting professional help with a divorce can be a mistake. Hiring a qualified attorney who can help serve as a third party and make sure financial settlements are fair can be quite beneficial.

In addition, agreeing to keep the family home might not be a good idea. While keeping someplace familiar is nice, sometimes a spouse won't realize the financial burden until they get in over their head.

Finally, not taking a close look at finances together can be costly. All sorts of issues can arise, such as who deducts children on separate income tax filings. Talking this all out during the divorce process, rather than conceding points to save time or anguish, is often a good idea.

Source: Reuters, "Divorce mistakes you can make by being too nice," Geoff Williams, June 26, 2012

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