The recipe for a perfect divorce is simple: take two perfect people who get along well, allow them to work out a sensible and fair financial arrangement and split time with the kids equally, all while both are showing complete support for the other. Be sure that you add friendship, respect, good manners and compromise to the mix, and also be sure that neither partner ever says anything bad about the other’s family or friends. Sounds more like a perfect marriage, doesn’t it?
Now, back to reality! This almost never happens. The “perfect divorce,” like the “perfect marriage,” does not really exist. Divorces can be physically and emotionally draining and often leave hurt feelings behind as well as an unequal or unfair division of financial assets and time with children. However, hiring the right family law attorney can often bring you closer to the “perfect divorce” scenario than acting on your own.
The Ingredients for a Fair and Equitable Settlement
In order to divide your assets fairly, it is important that first, all assets are on the table. This means no hiding or misrepresentation of the facts. While you expect your spouse to be honest about what she owns or earns, you must also hold yourself to that same standard. Many divorces have been derailed due to the attempt to hide or misrepresent earnings or financial holdings.
Next, you must be willing to compromise but not cave. This is a fine line and your attorney is usually the person best equipped to guide you through this process. By compromising you gain ground in reaching a settlement; by caving, you give up too much and suffer financially as a result. Your attorney may advise you to give up certain matters to settle but to hold fast on other issues. For example, you might give up your interest in a vacation home while keeping your pension plan intact.
Finally, you must consider what is best for your children. If you have kids, their health and safety is the most important concern in your divorce. There are times when it pays to fight for sole custody of your children, but in most cases a shared custody arrangement is preferable for your kids’ sake. This can be the area that is hardest to reach agreements. Your divorce attorney can be invaluable in negotiating this part of your settlement.
While you cannot have the “perfect divorce,” a family law attorney may be able to help you work out the right settlement if you are willing to listen and work with your attorney’s advice.