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Small mistakes during divorce mediation could cost a lot

Posted By Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Feb 10, 2014 in Divorce Mediation

Many people in Torrington think of divorce as an emotional, bitter and sometimes downright hostile process. For some marriages, that is true, but for many others in Connecticut, it is just as possible for divorcing spouses to work with family law lawyers out of court through divorce mediation. Instead of the more adversarial aspects of court, mediation gives couples a chance to work together to create a divorce settlement that reflects both of their needs. Mediation may not work for everyone, but for those for whom it does, mediation is a more amicable way to end a marriage than going to court.

Just because mediation is more amicable than divorce proceedings doesn't mean that it's not important to work with an experienced family law lawyer. Even simple mistakes can end up costing a spouse a considerable amount of money.

One big mistake is in how retirement accounts are divided. While retirement accounts are considered marital property, it is only the amount of money that is contributed after the marriage that will be divided between spouses. For anyone whose retirement account existed prior to the marriage, all the money present in the account the day before the marriage belongs to that individual alone. Simply subtracting that number from the account at the time of the divorce, however, fails to take into account the appreciation of that non-marital portion. Not only is the non-marital portion of an IRA or a 401k the property of the individual, but so is how much that portion appreciated over time.

This is just one example of how a minor mistake could turn amicable divorce mediation into a contentious relationship further down the line.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Three Costly Divorce Settlement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them," Christian Denmon, Jan. 21, 2014