How to Decide Your Settlement
In most cases, divorcing couples will strive to stay out of court and instead work together to reach a settlement based on their own priorities and the statutes in place to ensure children receive the care they need. To reach a settlement agreement, you and your spouse must decide:
- A parenting plan and visitation
- Support payments, including child support and alimony
- The division of all marital assets and property
With the emotional toll that comes with a separation and divorce, however, this is often more complicated than it seems. These are decisions that affect your financial future, as well as the psychological health of every member of your family.
What are the primary issues addressed in most divorce settlements?
Reaching a quality divorce settlement with your former spouse often allows you to have more control over your future, including your income, assets and financial obligations. While statutes dictate some factors — primarily child support payments and certain portions of a parenting plan — others are completely up to you to decide. Negotiating a quality result often provides more security than waiting to see how a judge decides your case.
Before the judge approves a divorce decree in your case, you and your partner must decide how you will divide the following:
· Proceeds from your family home (or who will live in your family home)
· Retirement accounts and other valuable assets
· Household items, vehicles, and collections
· Anything else you and your spouse obtained during your marriage (aside from gifts and inheritances)
You must also determine a parenting plan/visitation, determine child support, and maintenance (alimony) if applicable.
How do I know what to prioritize when deciding my settlement?
It is important to recognize that neither of you is going to get everything you want out of your divorce settlement. There are few “winners” in this type of legal matter, so it is important to know what matters most to you and to make it your priority.
It helps some people to make a list of their priorities because it allows them to see where they can make some concessions. If giving up the wine collection gets you more spousal support, is it worth it? Sometimes, yielding on things that do not matter much to you allows you to put more time an energy into fighting for what does matter.
It is also key to separate your emotional desires from your financial needs. Often, this is the most difficult part of prioritizing. For example, many people fight to keep the family home because of emotional ties to it. But they struggle to pay the mortgage or give up other valuable assets in exchange. Is staying in the house worth not being able to afford retirement or even a vacation with your kids?
The choice is up to you, but we urge you to try to look at it from a practical point of view instead of an emotional one.
Of course, most people are going to put their time with their children foremost in a divorce settlement. But how you decide on your other priorities can also make a big difference in your future.
Do I need a lawyer to help with my divorce settlement?
Having a knowledgeable Spokane divorce lawyer on your side is important to ensure your rights remain protected. Many people just want to get the stress and ongoing conflict over as soon as possible, but it is paramount you resist this impulse. You are making life-changing decisions when deciding your settlement, so you need to ensure you have all the information you need and you think it through clearly.
This is where we come in. We can help you uncover all the facts. We will work to uncover any hidden assets or learn about valuable investments one spouse kept from the other. We make sure our clients have all the facts and understand the implications of their choices before agreeing to a settlement offer.
We can also help steer you toward the best choices based on the specific details of your case. Many people come to us with preconceived ideas from their friend’s divorce or predicted outcomes based on what they learned from a news story. However, no two cases are the same. We work with financial consultants and other experts to ensure you understand possible outcomes based on the details of your marriage, separation, and financial situation.
Because most people going through a Washington State divorce are not attorneys and do not know the ins and outs of divorce law, some have settlement goals that are not realistic. We can help you set reasonable expectations, and share our experience of a divorce case we handled that was similar to yours. We can explain how the current laws apply to your divorce, and help you decide the best settlement based on your priorities.
Call Crouse Erickson for help with your divorce settlement.
At Crouse Erickson, our team works to negotiate divorce settlements every day. We understand that different people have different priorities and different needs during their divorce, and we can help you work toward the goals you set for your settlement. Call our Spokane office today at 509-624-1380 to schedule a time to talk about your case.