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Don't make these expensive divorce mistakes

Is your divorce going to cost you? Some divorce mistakes can have a massive financial impact.

After all, divorce will change your financial picture. You and your ex still have a lot of the same expenses -- housing, utilities, retirement savings, etc. -- but you both have to cover the costs on your own. You also get cut back to one income with which to do it. Even the very wealthy feel the financial impact.

That's why it's so critical not to make any serious financial mistakes that just make things worse. Here are a few to be wary of:

1. Failing to close joint accounts

Never assume your spouse will remain respectful and calm during a divorce. Hopefully they will, but you do not want to take a risk. That's why you can't afford to leave joint accounts open. This goes for bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments and all the rest. Close the joint accounts and start your own so that you know you have access to the money you need.

2. Forgetting that taxes change the real value of assets

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the dollar amount that something is worth really reflects the complete value. The tax implications are different for different types of assets: real estate, retirement accounts, insurance policies, investment portfolios, and more.

Even very similar accounts can have different values. For instance, imagine that you have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. They both have the same balance, so you assume that you will just take one and your ex will take the other. Not so fast. Withdrawing money from a Roth does not trigger taxes after retirement, so that means it has a higher actual value.

3. Keeping a home you can't afford

For many people, the No. 1 goal is to keep the house. This is especially true when kids come into the picture and you don't want to make them move.

As valiant as that is, you do not want to do it if you can't afford the house. Remember that you will need to refinance on your own to take your ex off of the mortgage. That changes the payments, especially if the home's value has gone up. You also have to buy out your spouse's share. Plus, you have to cover the costs of utilities, taxes, maintenance, HOA fees and other costs. If you put all your eggs in one basket and keep the home, you may have to sell it yourself anyway because it's not affordable alone.

Consider everything

These three examples help to show you why you need to consider everything from multiple angles and really think about all of your legal options during a divorce.

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