Nobody goes into marriage thinking about a divorce settlement in the future, but if a marriage falls apart, it is vital to know how to proceed with it.
One major hurdle in severing ties with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is the divorce settlement. Learning as much as you can about how to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse is important.
How do divorce settlements work?
Simply put, a divorce settlement is like a legal road map that both parties are legally bound to follow.
The divorce settlement can be very detailed, and those details must be adhered to. If the divorce settlement states that the wife gets the rosewood table and the husband gets the dining room hutch, that property division is legally binding.
The divorce settlement will detail all the financial assets that will be split:
Other equities and investments
It may also give a timeline for exactly when the divisions will take place.
Information about the custody and visitation schedule if you have children
It is important before getting to the stage of the settlement that you think about and determine which things to ask for in a settlement.
Lawyers can give you a comprehensive list about what to ask for in the divorce settlement. Both partners must be knowledgeable about all assets. This knowledge will help you navigate how to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse.
There may be assets that are unknown to both partners, so an honest and frank discussion is imperative because once a divorce settlement is signed, there is little or no recourse if other assets are discovered. Bottom line: know exactly what the divorce money settlement will be before signing anything.
For example, if the marriage lasted twenty-two years, what to expect in a divorce settlement would be alimony for eleven years. Of course, while this is the most common formula for alimony calculations, negotiating divorce terms is always an option.
How to negotiate a divorce settlement
Many times in order to obtain a fair divorce settlement, divorce negotiations will be part of the process.
Divorce negotiation tips from experts usually advise that to negotiate divorce settlement, both sides must sit down, review what they want, compromise at times, barter, horse trade-call it what you want.
This will be the ultimate give and take session.
Lawyers like to handle this part of the divorce (it is where big hourly fees can really rack up), but truth be told, if the two people getting divorced are still on civil terms with one another, they should be able to sit down and work out parts of the divorce settlement themselves.
By presenting these mutually agreed upon terms, thousands of dollars can be saved in lawyers’ billing fees.
Negotiating divorce settlement
This can be a contentious time because nitty-gritty details should be finalized, and oftentimes non-monetary items can be real roadblocks in the process of finalizing the divorce.
It is also very important to know what to ask for in a divorce settlement when children are in the picture.
In addition to details such as which partner has the kids for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays, school breaks must also be accounted for in the divorce settlement. There are other considerations also.
For example, both parents must agree if the children will be allowed to travel internationallyin the future in the custody of a single parent, and this must be recorded in the settlement.
At the end of negotiating a divorce settlement, both parties will be given the divorce settlement proposal, the preliminary but not final paper which will contain the “wish list” of both spouses.
Also watch: 7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce
Before signing anything
Both parties should once again listen to any divorce settlement tips their lawyers give them.
Any advice on how to win a divorce settlement which is fair to both parties should be considered if at all possible. This is the most crucial time in the divorce settlement process. All questions, no matter how strange-sounding, should be asked and answers given before the divorce settlement document is signed.
At the end
Once the divorce settlement is signed, it is time to move on with life.
Hopefully, both parties are not bitter, and while probably not ecstatically happy, are pleased that this stressful time is over and optimistic about the future.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.