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Divorce mediation and finances

The end of a marriage brings numerous legal and emotional disputes. It is further complicated by the role that a divorce decree can have on a spouse's finances. Divorce mediation may be an effective way to resolve divorce issues and assure some financial stability.

It can take time to identify and unravel property and assets that were obtained during marriage or even owned by the spouses before their wedding. Mediation may be a less-costly and productive method to identify these assets and allow the couple to agree on ownership and division instead of having to live with the findings of a family court judge.

The equitable and reasonable division of assets is an important mediation goal. It provides an opportunity for spouses to enter a settlement that they both consider fair. One spouse should not gain an unfair advantage in this process.

Even complex mediations may also cost significantly less than going to court or participating in a collaborative divorce. Mediation can also address other complicated issues such as spousal support. This can provide more funds to each spouse for starting a new life after the divorce.

Even if mediation resolves property division, a spouse should also take other financial steps. First, a post-divorce budget should help lower expenses and deal with ongoing costs such as child and spousal support and future expenses such as retirement.

Joint accounts from the marriage need to be closed. These include checking and savings accounts, credit cards and mutual funds. Mediation can help develop a process and schedule for closing these accounts.

Updating beneficiaries on accounts helps assure that assets are not unintentionally transferred to a former spouse or other former family members instead of a current spouse or children. Beneficiaries on life insurance policies, 401(k) or IRA plans and other valuable financial plans should be reviewed and updated.

Credit reports are also significant. These should be reviewed to keep current on credit scores, any negative changes and whether someone else is opening credit accounts in the spouse's name.

An attorney can help a spouse undergo mediation and assure that they pursue a fair and reasonable resolution that complies with New Mexico law. A lawyer can help with these financial matters and other divorce legal issues.

Source: Newswire, "5 financial tips for a smooth(er) divorce," By Jennifer Gretson, Oct. 21, 2017

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