Our last blog post focused on five common divorce pitfalls. Today, we discuss some common negotiation pitfalls that can occur while trying to settle your divorce case.
1. Not thinking outside the box.
Once you have a good sense of your goals and priorities, you can begin to brainstorm settlement ideas. This is your chance to get creative and think outside the box. For example, you want to keep the marital home but cannot secure a refinance to buy out your spouse’s equity. Look to other assets that you will be awarded in the divorce and see if they can be of help to you. Is there a whole life insurance policy that you can take a loan from? What about an annuity or 401k loan from your employer?
2. Taking your spouse’s word for it.
It’s great that you want to trust what your spouse is telling you; however, it would still be best to verify those statements. Request and review supporting documentation to verify any of your spouse’s claims (account balances, separate property, etc.) to avoid making a mistake you regret after the divorce is over.
3. Rushing to finalize your divorce.
Divorce is a process and does not simply occur overnight. Your divorce may be the single biggest financial event of your life. Take your time and make informed decisions.
4. Not doing your homework before mediation.
One of the downsides to mediation is that no one has the authority to force you to do anything. If you show up to mediation without the documents requested by the mediator (i.e., doing your homework) your spouse and the mediator will be frustrated. Not doing your homework and showing up to mediation is a waste of everyone’s time and money.
5. Not keeping your commitments.
Keeping all of your commitments during the divorce process is of the utmost importance if your goal is to reach an amicable resolution and avoid a trial. If you back out of your commitments, your spouse will begin to question whether you’re negotiating in good faith. It doesn’t take long for that to have a snowball effect on the entire divorce case. Don’t reach an agreement unless you believe you can follow through as promised.
6. Not thinking about the big picture.
Don’t do something that will affect the rest of the case without thinking it through. This can be applied to your own actions of hiding property, or running up debt for no reason, or saying no to a reasonable custody request. This can also apply to the discovery you ask your attorney to complete. It is important for you to be detailed and obtain financial records, so you have accurate, thorough information. However, you don’t want to ask your attorney to trace every single penny spent over the past ten years by your spouse or put a value on all of your household belongings. All of these actions will just give you and your spouse more things to fight about and increase your attorney fees. Try to stay focused on the big picture and what is truly important to you.
Should you need the advice of a divorce attorney or have questions or concerns about your situation, know that we are here to help and discuss those issues with you.