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Often in divorce, one ex-spouse can become shellshocked by the process. Paralyzed by fear over family and financial woes, these former partners can cast themselves in the roles of victims.
Writing for ABC News, Laura Mattia of the Baron Financial Group believes that women often become financial victims during divorce because of the way they relate to their spouses during marriage. But divorcing spouses can empower themselves when it comes to financial and family situations, rather than taking a sideline in their own divorces.
For both women and men, take note of these five empowering legal tips and avoid becoming a victim in your divorce:
1. Be Proactive About Finances.
Be proactive about your finances from the start of your marriage through your divorce -- for example, by using a prenuptial agreement. One of the many benefits of a prenup is the ability to delineate who owns what in a marriage and afterward. Even if you're already married, a postnup can accomplish many of the same financial planning goals.
2. Pay Attention to Tax Returns.
If you're going through a divorce, do not hand off the responsibility for filing your tax return to your soon-to-be-ex spouse. You should try to communicate with your partner about which tax options are the most beneficial for both of you (if necessary, through your attorneys or a mediator). Doing this will help you avoid being blindsided when you learn that your spouse claimed all your kids as his dependents.
3. Consider Your Long-Term Security.
Mattia cautions against relying too heavily on alimony, as it may leave a divorcee financially dependent on her ex. Craft a divorce settlement that covers you and your family's long-term plans (even your kid's college tuition) and that doesn't leave you praying for a spousal support check every month.
4. Stay Smart on Social Media.
Don't bad-mouth your ex on social media. Just don't. Not only will it give your former spouse fodder for trashing you in court, but it won't do much for your self esteem either. Instead, consider a social media clause in your prenup or postnup.
5. Hire an Attorney.
You know what's the most empowering feeling? Knowing the law is on your side. And you'll only know that for sure with the help of an experienced attorney. You don't have to be a victim in your divorce. Use the law to rise above.