On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Family Law on Wednesday, October 5, 2011
As divorcing couples sort through their issues as part of the legal process of ending their marriage, they typically discuss with each other who will get which pieces of their marital estate. Who gets which car? Who gets the big-screen TV, who gets the washer and dryer and who gets the St. Louis Cardinals season tickets? And so on.
In the course of those property division conversations, there are bound to be disagreements. Recently, a pair of family law attorneys writing for the Huffington Post outlined four common and difficult types of disputes that arise in these discussions and how to cope with them.
- Pushing for an answer
In some cases, a spouse will insist on getting the other to agree to let go of a certain possession. But if you’re not ready to agree to let your spouse get the new car (or the dryer or the TV or whatever it might be), don’t let the one possession stop the entire process.
Say something along these lines: “What if the [new car] was not an issue? Where would we stand then?”
This approach can prevent the car [dryer, TV, etc.] from derailing the process, allowing the two of you to make progress on other issues. Then you can revisit the sticking point later.
- Bottom line?
What to say when your spouse asks for a ballpark figure for a settlement? Don’t give one. Ask for more time to think things through. A ballpark figure can come back to haunt you.
“This is my final offer,” your spouse says. What are you to do with an ultimatum?
Ignore it. Keep talking. Keep the conversation flowing.
This allows your spouse to continue negotiating without becoming embarrassed over having blurted out an ultimatum — most likely in frustration.
How many times have you misunderstood what someone has written you in an e-mail? Probably countless times, which is exactly why you shouldn’t negotiate property division, child custody, child support or any other major divorce issue in any forum or medium other than face-to-face conversation.
Things are too easily misconstrued in hastily composed e-mails and even in telephone conversations in which subtle intonation and facial expressions can be lost or are invisible.
Source: Huffington Post: “Four Tips to Help You Settle Your Divorce Out of Court” by J. Richard Kulerski and Kari L. Cornelison: Oct. 4, 2011