Negotiating a Settlement in Divorce

In divorce negotiations, who gets what asset can be the most difficult part of the whole process. People sometimes have the winner-take-all mentality, which leads to prolonged divorces. Negotiating is like a dance. One person takes a step backwards and the other one goes forward. The partners move in sync and sometimes apart from each other. They dance around some of the lesser issues to concentrate on what is most important to them. As in dance – flexibility is important. If your spouse is not going to budge on one item, go after something similar, or two smaller ones which may have an even greater value when combined. Here are tips for negotiating a fair divorce settlement:

1. Lawyers and mediators are quite skilled in assessing and dividing property and investments. That said, consider having a neutral financial consultant on-board to help with a fair distribution. They can look at the assets in totality and advise a balanced split so one party does not get mainly retirement pensions and the other one cash. A few women now in their 50s who got more in liquid assets and very little in retirement benefits are worried about their futures. Who knows what social security payments will be in the next decade and beyond.

2. Look at what your present needs are in order to determine what assets are most advantageous to you. If you are a few decades away from retirement, it may be in your best interest to receive a bigger chunk of liquid funds. This way, you can buy a house and pay off the mortgage. Being free of a mortgage puts more money in your pocket even with property taxes, upkeep, and insurance bills. Perhaps student loans could be paid off if getting a lump sum settlement. If unsure what to do in your circumstance, meet with your own personal financial advisor for guidance in choosing which type of assets you would like.

3. Know the tax consequences of splitting assets, especially retirement ones. –

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