What to Ask for in a Divorce: How to NegotiateYour Settlement

Divorce is a complex and emotional process that involves many decisions and compromises.

An image of a couple getting divorced
What to Ask for in a Divorce[Photo courtesy of Family Ties]
One of the most important aspects of divorce is how to divide the assets and liabilities that you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage.

This article will provide some tips on what to ask for in a divorce and how to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.

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What are the main types of assets and liabilities in a divorce?

Assets and liabilities are the things that you own or owe, such as property, bank accounts, investments, debts, loans, etc.

In a divorce, these assets and liabilities are usually classified into two categories: marital and separate.

Marital assets and liabilities are those that were acquired or incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name they are in.

For example, a house that you bought together, a joint bank account, a credit card debt that you both used, etc.

Separate assets and liabilities are those that were acquired or incurred before the marriage, after the separation, or by inheritance or gift from a third party.

For example, a car that you owned before the marriage, a personal savings account, a student loan that you took out before the marriage, etc.

How are assets and liabilities divided in a divorce?

The way that assets and liabilities are divided in a divorce depends on the laws of your state and the agreement that you and your spouse reach.

There are two main methods of dividing assets and liabilities in a divorce: equitable distribution and community property.

1.Equitable distribution is the method used in most states. It means that the court will divide the marital assets and liabilities in a way that is fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal.

The court will consider various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of each spouse, the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, the needs and circumstances of each spouse, etc.

2.Community property is the method used in some states, such as California, Texas, Arizona, etc.

It means that the court will divide the marital assets and liabilities equally, regardless of the factors mentioned above.

Each spouse will get 50% of the marital assets and liabilities, unless they agree otherwise.

What to ask for in a divorce?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what to ask for in a divorce, as each case is different and depends on your goals, preferences, and situation.

However, some general tips are:

What to ask for in a divorce?

1.Make a list of your assets and liabilities

Identify which ones are marital and which ones are separate, and estimate their values and balances.

This will help you to have a clear picture of your financial situation and to plan your future budget and needs.

2.Prioritize your needs and wants

Think about what assets and liabilities are most important to you and why.

For example, do you want to keep the family home or sell it and split the proceeds?

Do you want to keep your retirement account or trade it for something else?

Do you want to pay off your debts or transfer them to your spouse?

Be realistic and flexible, and be prepared to compromise and trade-off.

3.Consult a lawyer and a financial advisor

Divorce can have significant legal and financial implications, so it is advisable to seek professional guidance and representation.

A lawyer can help you to understand your rights and obligations, to negotiate and draft a settlement agreement, and to protect your interests in court if necessary.

A financial advisor can help you to evaluate the tax consequences and long-term effects of your divorce settlement, to plan your post-divorce finances, and to achieve your financial goals.

4.Communicate and cooperate with your spouse

If possible, try to communicate and cooperate with your spouse in a respectful and constructive manner.

This can help you to avoid unnecessary conflicts and costs, to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and to preserve a positive relationship for the sake of your children, if you have any.

You can use various methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce, to facilitate the negotiation process.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The duration of a divorce depends on many factors, such as the complexity of your case, the level of cooperation between you and your spouse, the backlog of the court, etc.

Generally, an uncontested divorce, where you and your spouse agree on all the terms, can take a few months, while a contested divorce, where you and your spouse disagree on some or all the terms, can take a year or more.

How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce also depends on many factors, such as the method of divorce, the fees of your lawyer and other professionals, the amount of litigation, etc.

Generally, an uncontested divorce is cheaper than a contested divorce, as it involves less paperwork, time, and conflict.

The average cost of a divorce in the US ranges from $8,000 to $15,000, but it can vary widely depending on your specific case.

How does divorce affect children?

Divorce can have a significant impact on children, both emotionally and practically.

Children may experience various feelings, such as sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, fear, etc., and may have to adjust to various changes, such as living in two homes, having new family members, changing schools, etc.

However, divorce does not have to be traumatic or damaging for children, as long as you and your spouse provide them with love, support, stability, and consistency.

You can also seek professional help from a therapist, counselor, or support group, if needed.

How do I cope with divorce?

Divorce can be a stressful and challenging experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and healing.

Some tips to cope with divorce are:

Take care of yourself

Divorce can affect your physical and mental health, so it is important to take care of yourself.

Eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Find healthy ways to cope with your emotions, such as talking to a friend, writing a journal, meditating, etc.

Seek support

Divorce can make you feel lonely and isolated, so it is important to seek support from others.

Reach out to your family, friends, community, or faith group. Join a support group or a online forum for people going through divorce.

Focus on the positive

Divorce can make you feel hopeless and pessimistic, so it is important to focus on the positive.

Recognize your strengths and achievements.

Appreciate the good things in your life.

Set realistic and attainable goals for your future.

Embrace the changes and opportunities that divorce brings.

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