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Legal advice can help safeguard against common divorce mistakes

In New York and across the nation, one thing tends to hold true:  people love to give advice. When it comes to divorce, though, the problem is that while each well-meaning individual has facts to swear by, many of these turn out to be false. Even worse, quite a few of the most common mistaken divorce beliefs are not only incorrect, but potentially dangerous, at least in a financial sense.

Many people believe that relinquishing their home ownership interest in the divorce settlement means that they will no longer be responsible for mortgage payments. However, transferring ownership interest regarding a house -- or for a car or other property secured by liens, for that matter -- does not automatically waive the individual's liability to the lender. A lawyer can offer advice on how to achieve a settlement agreement that specifically addresses this issue.

Another common misconception is that pensions are protected during divorce, but the opposite is true. A federal law explicitly permits the distribution of pension benefits in divorce settlements through something called a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). On the other end of the spectrum are some couples -- usually those going through an amicable divorce who do not have many disagreements -- who believe they can save money by having a single lawyer represent them both. This is both incorrect and misleading, as an attorney only represents one individual during a divorce, potentially leaving the other spouse self-represented.

In addition, determining child support in New York is much more complicated than many people believe, and professional advice can prove invaluable here as well, especially if one spouse is self-employed. Regardless of an individual's situation, he or she will most likely benefit from the counsel of a New York divorce attorney. A lawyer with experience in a variety of family law issues will be able to provide knowledgeable guidance and representation to help smooth the entire divorce process.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Alternative Facts: A Half Dozen of the Biggest Whoppers", Larry Sarezky, Feb. 22, 2017

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