The vast majority of divorce cases result in some sort of settlement without the need for litigation. Settlement can be enticing, too. After all, it allows the parties to turn the page on a bad chapter on their life. But you shouldn’t be too quick to settle your divorce legal issues. Rushed agreements often leave one party in a financially disadvantageous position. You don’t want that to be you.
So what can you do? There are a number of action steps you can take to best position yourself for life post-divorce. Let’s look at some of them.
First, you need to be prepared with a strategy before starting your divorce negotiations. Each of the following can be critically important to your success during settlement talks, so you should fully take them into consideration before moving forward.
- What you need: You probably have some assets in mind that you feel like you absolutely need for your life post-divorce. This is a good starting point in developing your strategy because it sets a hard boundary that you know that you can’t stray from.
- What you want: Those assets that you want can help steer your negotiation strategy, allowing you to be focused and prevent you from getting tangled in the weeds of negotiation.
- What your spouse needs: Your spouse probably needs certain things post-divorce, too. If you can identify them with some certainty, then you can gain some leverage during negotiations.
- What your spouse wants: Again, these items can help you craft your strategy and how you can use your spouse’s “wants” to entice him or her to agree with your proposition.
- When to walk away: Don’t let yourself be bullied into an agreement. If your spouse is pushing you too hard on something, don’t cave. Set hard boundaries for yourself so that you can walk away if the need arises. This will protect your financial interests.
Including all marital assets
One unfortunate reality about divorce is that spouse’s sometimes try to prevent the other spouse from gaining access to marital assets during the property division process. These individuals might stash cash in a favorite hiding spot, open up new bank accounts under their own name or an alias, and even retitle property in the name of a family member or friend with the intention of retaining physical possession of it. Some spouses even squander assets all to avoid their spouse from getting their hands on them.
This is unacceptable, which is why it might be beneficial to have a forensic accountant look into your case if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets. These professionals can follow paper trails to find hidden assets, then provide expert testimony about them. This legal tactic can be powerful if assets are, in fact, being hidden to avoid property division.
Factors affecting property division
Equitable distribution of marital assets means that these assets have to be divided fairly. This doesn’t mean that they have to be divided equally. So, there are often a number of factors that can affect how assets are divided. Amongst them are:
- The length of the marriage
- The cause of the divorce
- The financial contributions to the family during the course of divorce
- Any sacrifices made during the course of divorce
Other factors might come into play, too, so you need to be ready to fight to protect your interests in the marital assets to which you are entitled.
Fighting for your future
In some instances, divorce can be amicable and easy. But you shouldn’t count on that. You should hope for the best but plan for the worst, being prepared to fight for your interests along the way. While a divorce settlement might be in your future, you might be able to increase its favorability by having a strong legal ally on your side who will know how to address all matters that are pertinent to your case.