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Do you know how divorce settlement works?

During your divorce, you may encounter numerous parts of the process that you may not fully understand. You trust your attorney is doing a competent job representing your interests and you may feel you do not have to understand all of the legal minutia and "inside baseball" discussions to obtain a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

To some degree that is true; if you needed to understand every legal element of your divorce process, you might not feel the need to hire a legal professional in the first place. You may have felt comfortable enough to do it on your own. While you may not need to fully understand every element of the process, you do need to understand every piece of your final divorce order and settlement.

Especially if you have significant marital assets, you and your attorney and any financial professional that you had as part of the process of divorce need to sit down and go over, line by line, and fully examine your property division from your settlement.

You need to know exactly what will happen to the proceeds of the sale of the family home and how you will be notified. Using a multi-year calendar, supplemented by electronic reminders can be valuable.

If your spouse has vesting rights to retirement accounts or other investments or stock options, you want reminders that let you know it is time to request your share. If your spouse if providing insurance, you want to be notified of when premium payments are due, and receive confirmation of those payments. You also want to know of any changes to the policy, specifically beneficiaries.

While this may seem tedious, this document represents a significant piece of your financial future and the better you understand how it will function, the better you can protect your rights and secure your future.

Wsj.com, "'Debriefing' a Divorce Settlement," Austin Kilham, February 9, 2015

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