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Guilt leads to financial suffering during a New York divorce

Some people feel relief after the end of an unhappy marriage. Most spouses see divorce as stressful but endurable. Can a breakup be pleasant? Civil is probably the most New York spouses can expect. Civility allows former partners to problem-solve and raise children together, but separately, without dragging out issues in court.

Contested divorces are often filled with high emotion. Anyone who has had the experience knows how wide-ranging feelings can be. Despair, hurt, shock, bitterness and anger ebb and flow during and after the legal process.

Guilt is a strong feeling, especially among spouses who initiate a divorce the other partner does not want. The spouse who takes the blame for the breakup may try for absolution by sacrificing anything and everything. This is not an advantageous legal position.

The "take-it-all-I-just-want-out" attitude is recognized by legal experts on both sides of the settlement table. Spouses with guilt make mistakes by accepting an unfair financial burden.

Guilt bills are frequently paid through lopsided asset division and excessive alimony or child support payments. A spouse may try to alleviate the guilt of leaving by agreeing to foot the entire bill for a former partner's home or other long-term expenses.

Generosity seems like a good idea at the time. Consequences for spontaneous financial actions only show up after the divorce decree - when every alteration to a settlement becomes impossible or requires litigation.

Grounds for divorce are available when necessary but, in most cases, New York couples split without blame through no-fault divorce. Leftover hard feelings do not have to be part of the divorce settlement or decree.

While it's harder to do than say, many matrimonial lawyers agree divorces should be handled like business deals. The needs of affected parties can be recognized and addressed through negotiations with minimal conflict and no guilt-inspired decisions to regret later.

Source:, "Divorce Guilt Can Break Your Bank" Morghan Leia Richardson, Aug. 07, 2013

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