Going through the process of ending a marriage in Pennsylvania can understandably be confusing and overwhelming. Unfortunately, a single mistake during a divorce proceeding — whether during divorce mediation or trial — may lead to a less-than-desirable outcome for one financially. A few tips may help with making decisions that will have positive financial consequences long term.

First, avoiding informal agreements altogether is expedient during divorce. In some divorce situations, couples might have worked out informal agreements in order to simplify their divorce proceedings and perhaps bypass obtaining legal counsel. However, these agreements or wishes might not end up being carried out or legally enforced without being included in formal divorce decrees.

In addition, sometimes those going through divorce decide to use life insurance as a way of guaranteeing their spouses’ alimony. However, they do not carry this out on their final divorce decrees, which is an expensive mistake. This mistake is also sometimes made with disability insurance, so if the spouse paying alimony ends up getting hurt on the job and cannot keep working, he or she can no longer make payments to the recipient spouse. Insurance is an important tool for protecting oneself financially in alimony situations following divorce.

Even though divorce is complicated, an applied understanding of the law in Pennsylvania may help to make it easier to navigate. If possible, two spouses can take advantage of the opportunity to negotiate or mediate matters such as asset division and alimony to avoid further court intrusion. Divorce mediation and negotiation tend to be less expensive and less stressful compared with traditional divorce litigation and may lead to a more mutually satisfactory outcome for both parties.

Source: investopedia.com, “How to Achieve Financial Goals During a Divorce“, Rose Swanger, Nov. 22, 2017