A fair divorce settlement will allow both spouses to make a clean break, leave the marriage with what they need to start over, and honor the sacrifices made by both parties for the marriage. However, getting to that point takes a lot of negotiation and compromise. Before you get into negotiations, it’s good to take some time to discuss your options with your divorce attorney.
Figure out what you absolutely need from your divorce settlement, what you’re more flexible on, and what you don’t really care about. This will guide your negotiations and help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.
At Coumanis & York, our goal is helping you navigate divorce with minimal stress and anxiety. To schedule an appointment with our team, call our Daphne office at 251-990-3083 or our Mobile office at 251-431-7272.
Your Marital Home
Think about what you want from your marital home. Is it a top priority for you, important enough that you are willing to give up other assets to your ex-partner? Is it something that is important to you as the primary caretaker of your children? Or are you apathetic about the house and willing to either sell your share to your spouse or put it on the market? There’s no right answer here—it all depends on you.
A Fair Share of Assets
The division of assets can be a sticking point in settlement negotiations. The longer you and your partner were married, the more likely it is that you have tons of intermingled marital assets that need to be separated and divided. If your marital assets include businesses, antiques, or real estate, ensure that you are getting a fair hand in the division. Insist on a fair valuation by a neutral party.
Retirement and Investment Accounts
Navigating divorce is another chance to plan for the future. You won’t be able to work forever, and when that time comes, you’ll be happy that you fought for a fair share of the retirement and investment accounts built up during your marriage. These accounts must be handled properly to avoid extra taxes or early withdrawal penalties, so ensure that you talk to your attorney about rolling over funds into your own retirement account.
Fair Debt Division
You don’t want to get stuck with the lion’s share of your marital debt, which is why it’s important to have a clear picture of what you have and what you owe before you begin negotiating a divorce settlement. A fair division of debt is based on who incurred the debt, who benefited from it, who is able to repay it, and who has the assets tied to the debts. Don’t take on more than your fair share just to get the divorce done more quickly.
Custody and visitation are two of the most difficult topics to discuss during a divorce settlement. Alabama courts favor arrangements that allow both parents considerable time with their children, as this is generally in the best interests of the child. The court may be willing to sign off on other arrangements if the parents can prove that it is in the child’s best interest to maintain that arrangement.
For example, if one party has a demanding full-time job with inconsistent hours and one has been a stay-at-home parent for their child’s entire life, the court may be willing to sign off on an agreement that preserves that arrangement.
Child Support and Alimony
Whether you split custody or give primary custody to one parent, child support may need to change hands for the child to enjoy a high quality of life in both homes. Additionally, don’t forget to ask your attorney about alimony. Alimony is not assumed in Alabama anymore, so it is definitely something you’ll need to negotiate if it’s a priority for you.
Your Child’s Future Needs
Some divorcing couples plan for their children’s future financial needs in their divorce settlement. This may involve requiring one or both parties to pay into the children’s college funds.
Take the First Step with Coumanis & York
Divorce can be messy business, but it’s easier and quicker with a strong legal team by your side. Reach out to our team to schedule a consultation or call our Daphne office at 251-990-3083 or our Mobile office at 251-431-7272. We look forward to helping you.