By Jeralyn Lawrence, Esq. Managing Member and Founder of Lawrence Law
The main goal of divorce is to reach an agreement with your spouse. The terms of the agreement are memorialized, in writing, in a Marital Settlement agreement. This agreement is also known as a Property Settlement Agreement. A very high percentage, meaning almost all, divorce cases settle. In other words, a very small percentage of cases go to trial. At trial, a Judge will decide the issues relative to the divorce.
There are two people that control how long a divorce takes and how much it costs. Those two people are the couple getting the divorce. As soon as they are able to agree upon terms, their case will be settled and a divorce decree obtained. To be able to reach an agreement, both parties will need to be able to communicate, cooperate and compromise. Any agreement reached will contain many compromises by the parties. As such, they will each have had to give up on issues to gain an advantage on other issues. It is important that both parties make concessions, not just one party. In the end, both parties must feel that they are reaching a durable and sustainable agreement. And that, the agreement meets both of their needs.
Transparency is a Requirement
It is important for both parties to feel fairly treated through the divorce process. This starts with full and fair disclosure of all financial records. Both parties need to be open and fully transparent about their assets and debts. The value of all assets must be ascertained to get a complete financial picture. This is common with business owners. A value of the business must be ascertained, as well as an accurate understanding of cash flow, before the settlement of a case.
While a divorce is painful and emotional, there is no substitute for preparation. Preparation will allow you to negotiate and to reach an acceptable agreement. When settlement is impeded by the emotions of one of the parties, it may be important to bring a mental health expert into the process. This expert can address and strengthen the client throughout the process. Once the divorce is over, to goal is for the client to be able to embrace the next chapter in his or her life with a renewed sense of hope. And, a restored sense of self and security.
As a lawyer, it is my job to lead the client to a better place. The goal of a divorce is to reach an agreement while positioning the client for long-term success. In my view, long-term success includes financial and mental health.
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