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Considering some important financial issues in divorce negotiations, P.1

Along with the issue of child custody, finances are the most important issue couples have to deal with in divorce. Each couple, of course, has its own unique circumstances and there is no single strategy that works in every case. There are, however, certain issues that should be carefully considered in preparing for divorce and negotiating divorce terms.

One of the first steps anybody should take in preparing for divorce is to take stock of their assets, debts and other liabilities. This is important to do because knowing one’s own financial situation allows one to better negotiate the financial terms of the divorce. Spouses who have separate property can often use that as a bargaining chip in negotiation, though marital property—as well as separate and shared debts—can also serve the same purpose. 

The approach to negotiation depends, of course, on the law of the state concerning property division. Here in Florida, the general rule is that marital property is divided equally, unless there is a good reason for unequal division. Premarital agreements can make a difference as well. Depending on the language of the agreement, there may be little to no room for negotiation.

Along with knowing one’s own financial situation, there is also the importance of understanding the other spouse’s financial situation as well. Especially important is to ensure that the other spouse fully discloses his or her assets and liabilities. This can be a challenge in cases where the other spouse been hiding assets over a long period of time. An experienced attorney knows what to look for when evaluating full disclosure. 

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