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Approach finances with business attitude during divorce mediation

For couples in Maricopa, Arizona, who are divorcing, things may be anything but business-like. Individuals who can put emotions aside to participate in the divorce mediation process may find they are happier with the outcome, especially when it comes to financial matters. According to experts, setting aside personal bias and feelings and approaching matters with a business attitude can make things easier for everyone.

One expert points out that problems during property division only occur when individuals can't decide who owns what. An obvious solution to this issue is to protect yourself before marriage or divorce. Some couples engage in prenuptial agreements. You can limit those agreements to preowned property, such as a house or vehicle, or use an agreement to protect all of your assets.

Other couples maintain financial independence throughout a relationship by keeping separate accounts and finances. In many cases, when you combine your money in a single joint account, you each have 50 percent ownership in the account. That doesn't always mean someone gets 50 percent of the money -- there are plenty of cases where one spouse drains joint accounts due to financial need or pure spite.

If you haven't maintained separate accounts before, it might be a good idea to set up your own accounts as soon as you know divorce is a possibility. Begin depositing your paycheck into an account with only your name on it, and encourage your spouse to do the same. Consider involving a financial planner or attorney in property and debt division to bring a third-party, who is not emotionally tied to the decision-making process, into the discussion.

Regardless of where you stand financially or what other issues are involved in your divorce, experts agree that keeping emotions out of property division is beneficial to everyone. Whether you let emotions drive you into a deal that isn't favorable or you later regret taking so much from the other party, emotional decision making comes with a risk of future dissatisfaction.

Source: MainStreet, "Splitting Up Your Finances After You Split" Nicholas Pell, Dec. 18, 2013

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