Divorcing couples are typically counseled to make an effort to negotiate a fair divorce settlement agreement. Although the division of assets can be made to appear mathematically equal, it may still not seem fair for one of the parties. In addition, how does the law determine what is equitable? The following will discuss several obstacles to reaching a fair divorce settlement agreement in months, rather than years.
Concept of Fairness
Most people learn the concept of fairness as a child. Unfortunately, what is thought to be fair may not be the same for everyone, including your spouse. Both parties will arrive at negotiations with a different perception of what is fair in terms of alimony, division of assets, child support, and other financial matters.
If the court is involved, it will be bound by divorce statutes, which determine fairness from legal aspects. A court’s decisions are commonly thought to be unfair by one or both spouses, diverging far from what he or she wanted to achieve.
Unsurprisingly, feelings such as spite and revenge occasionally rear their ugly heads during the process of negotiating a divorce settlement. Stubborn attachments to assets and not being transparent regarding financial records also arise. An aggressive attitude and an obsession on winning or losing also strip away remaining goodwill. All the above create barriers to being fair during settlement discussions.
It is best to suppress negative emotions that are counterproductive to achieving a fair divorce settlement agreement because open lines of communication are needed. It is more productive to understand that securing a “perfect” settlement agreement is very unlikely. However, working to reach what is close to fair is still possible through mutual compromises, which will require emotional control.
Using the court system to reach a divorce settlement agreement may consume two years or longer. In contrast, divorce mediation will help secure a fair settlement within months. The process is overseen by a divorce mediator, who is a neutral third party who provides assistance in reaching an agreement that is fair. However, it must be first determined if the divorcing spouses are appropriate candidates for divorce mediation through consultations. Having the spirit of compromise is crucial for the process.
Professional Guidance for Divorcing Individuals
John Faggio, CPA, CFP®, CDFA™, is a Financial Divorce Specialist. Faggio Financial helps divorcing individuals reach an equitable financial settlement in a professional, cost-effective, and expedient manner. Call (410) 988-7333 for professional guidance today.