The outcome of your marriage dissolution can set the stage for your post-divorce life for years or even decades to come. That’s why it’s important that you do everything you can to protect your interests, financial or otherwise. While you might think that this means fighting out every little issue in court, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of divorce cases settle well before trial. There are many reasons for this, including simply wanting to put the matter behind you and start the next chapter of your life.
Regardless of the reason why you might be considering divorce settlement, you need to have an adequately thorough plan going into your negotiations. If you don’t, then you could end up being taken advantage of in a way that leaves you with more financial hardship than you expected. Here are some of the things that you need to take into account before sitting down for your settlement talks:
- Identify the marital estate: Florida law recognizes equitable distribution of marital assets. This means that your marital property will be divided between you and your spouse in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. To ensure that you’re getting your fair share of the marital estate, though, you need to make sure that you’re including all marital assets in the marital estate. This means looking at the property that your spouse entered into the marriage with to determine if those assets have been commingled with marital assets, as well as looking for assets that your spouse may be trying to hide from you. You should be diligent here, leaving no stone unturned.
- Know what you need and want: Before sitting down for negotiations, you have to know what you want and need out of your divorce. Do you need a residence or a vehicle? If so, mark those down as your non-negotiables. If you identify certain accounts that you want, then those can be the focus of your negotiations.
- Know what your spouse needs and wants: If you can conduct this same analysis for your spouse, then you can better identify the parameters of your negotiations. Doing so also allows you to better see where you might be able to leverage your spouse to get a resolution that is favorable to you.
- Try to avoid conflict: We know this can be hard, especially if there’s a lot of heated emotions coming out of your marriage. But by keeping a cool head, you can better ensure that your settlement negotiations are productive. Doing otherwise could stall settlement talks, which can force you to expend more time and money to reach the outcome you want. Of course, you can’t be a pushover during your negotiations. Therefore, try to find a balance where you’re assertive and strong without trying to bulldoze through the negotiations.
- Educate when needed: Sometimes during divorce negotiations, one side has an erroneous belief of how their case will turn out if they go to trial. They might think that they’re entitled to way more alimony than they actually are, or they might think that the facts warrant sole physically custody when the facts simply don’t support that position. In these circumstances, it can be helpful to educate the other side so that it can act more reasonably and collaboratively toward an equitable resolution.
Put in the work needed to position yourself for success
Successfully navigating divorce requires thorough preparation as well as knowledge of the law. It can be a complicated process, we know, which is why it’s in your best interests to be proactive in building the legal arguments need to position yourself for success. If you need assistance in this regard, then turn to the resources at your disposal to provide you with the guidance that you need.