When it comes to divorce, emotions are high on all fronts, no matter how amicable the separation might be. Unfortunately, this emotional turmoil can impair sound decision making during settlement negotiations in a divorce. However, every battle isn’t worth fighting financially or practically.
To save yourself some time and money, here are some guideposts for when you should compromise or hold firm during divorce settlement negotiations:
Personal property usually has more sentimental value than anything else. Many items feel valuable, but fighting over them often leads to paying more in legal fees than the things were ever worth. Unless your personal property includes valuable artwork or antiques, giving up your personal property in return for more critical concerns can go a long way in negotiations.
When it comes to real estate in a divorce, the primary point of contention usually is the marital home. That’s even more of an issue if there are children involved; one or both parents may want to keep the house to stay in the same neighborhood or school district. However, instead of fighting over who stays and who goes, your best bet here is often to sell the home and buy something else in the same community. This way your children stay in the same school zone, and you avoid an unnecessary fight. (It can also often makes financial sense—because a home’s upkeep and taxes can become too expensive when the family income is halved.)
Custody is usually the most important issue to divorcing parents, and with the cost of fighting a custody battle today, refusing to compromise with your ex-spouse is a losing game. Unless your former spouse is truly unfit, consider what is in the best interest of your children, and be flexible with your ex-partner when it comes to custody arrangements.
If you support yourself with proceeds from your business, this is one area where it may be important to stand firm during negotiations—because that may be the only chance to have total ownership and control. Courts consider businesses created or acquired during the marriage as “marital property,” and it is likely that your former spouse is entitled to a portion of your company. So be prepared to stand your ground and fight during negotiations, because you’re going to have a more difficult time in court.
Retirement assets mature over time and will likely be worth a lot more down the line. So this is another area where you want to stand firm to protect your future in a divorce. Take the time to understand the marital retirement assets, and fight for your fair share.
If you are considering a divorce, send us a message or call us at (314) 454-9100. We can help you plan your next step.