Negotiating a Divorce Settlement: Top Financial Mistakes to Avoid

“When her husband recovered, it was to shout abusively at her…. Later, when she reflected on it throughout the tedious courtroom proceedings, she realized this was the moment she had irrevocably determined to divorce her husband.” – Jean Elson, Gross Misbehavior and Wickedness: A Notorious Divorce in Early Twentieth-Century America

Figures quoted by show that, in 2018, there were 61.24 million married couples in the United States of America. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that many people get married. And, it is equally relevant to assume that, if the relationship works out, they will stay married. However, things don’t always work out.

Additionally, 2018 statistics show that circa 9% of all married thirty-year-olds had already been divorced at least once. And, these figures peaked at the 42.5% mark. Erg, just less than 45% of all marriages had ended in divorce by the time most married couples were in their sixties.

Unfortunately, getting divorced seems to be a given in our post-modern world. There are many reasons for this, such as the example of verbal abuse cited in the quotation mentioned above by Jean Elson. Thus, as Wagoner Law Firm attorneys highlight, if getting divorced is a given, it’s vital to negotiate a realistic divorce settlement. And, one of the fundamental issues to pay attention to is the financial settlement.

Consequently, the question that begs is how to avoid making financial mistakes when negotiating the financial aspects of the divorce settlement.

Therefore, by way of answering this question, here are several pointers to negotiate a substantial financial settlement:

Understand you and your spouse’s joint finances

It is sometimes much more comfortable to let your spouse handle the family finances from paying the bills to managing the joint savings accounts. However, when negotiating a financial settlement, it is vital to ensure that you have an intimate understanding of the family’s finances. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing out, because your assumptions and beliefs might be far from the truth.

Avoid becoming a financial victim

As highlighted above, one of the biggest mistakes divorcing partners make is to avoid the more significant financial implications of the divorce. Make sure you have access to, and copies of, all of your joint financial assets like savings accounts, retirement annuities, stock market shares, and your residence if you own it.

Worst case scenario, if you suspect your spouse is liquidating, selling, or moving assets into another name without your consent, you might need to hire a forensic auditor to help you track and locate these assets. Unfortunately, it would seem that as good the marriage was, the antagonistic the divorce will be.

Ignoring the importance of producing an accurate budget

Both parties will be required to produce a budget detailing current and future living expenses. This point becomes particularly relevant when there are minor children involved. Thus, it is vital to produce an accurate costing; otherwise, you will end up losing out.

Final thoughts

As highlighted above, getting divorced is ranked as the second-highest stressful life event. Thus, it is understandable if your stress levels are very high. Therefore, it is essential to put measures into place to simplify the negotiations and to ensure that the divorce process is as smooth as possible.

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