Even amid all of the emotional turmoil, one of the most difficult parts of dealing with a divorce is arriving at a fair settlement. Divorces rarely leave either party feeling particularly satisfied, so generally the best you can hope for is an equitable arrangement that splits both marital debts and assets as evenly as possible. If child custody is an issue, then finalizing the divorce settlement can be an even more fraught and emotionally taxing process.
You may still be tempted to arrange the settlement on your own, but there are many advantages to hiring an experience divorce attorney to help you through this process.
Put Distance Between You and Your Spouse
Although divorces are occasionally amicable, more often than not, there is some amount of bad blood that can make direct negotiations more difficult than they need to be. Hiring an attorney allows you to maintain some distance from your spouse. Not only is this helpful to approach the process more dispassionately, but it can also be a huge help for your own mental well-being. Forcing yourself to negotiate over assets with a soon-to-be-former life partner can be stressful, and that stress can ultimately lead to bad decisions that you may regret later.
Define Marital and Separate Assets
In most jurisdictions, the final settlement of assets will depend on which assets are marital (or commingled) and which assets are considered separate. Separate assets are those assets which can clearly be established to belong to one party, and those assets are always awarded to that party as a part of the settlement. On the other hand, marital assets are shared assets or assets for which a clear chain of custody cannot be established. Defining these assets is a key part of the divorce settlement process since marital assets will ultimately be split as equitably as possible.
While it may seem like this is an area where your own personal judgment is more important, an attorney can be vital here as well. Attorneys are experienced in understanding which types of assets are usually commingled in a marriage and likewise your attorney can help you argue which assets are clearly separate and belong to you.
Clarify Legal Language to Protect Your Rights
Ultimately, the divorce settlement is a legal document and will rely on precise language. Although it is possible for you and your spouse to draft a divorce settlement without the help of a lawyer, doing so may expose one or both of you to liability in the future if you fail to include certain items or if you use legal terminology that you do not fully understand. A divorce attorney will help you to craft a final, legally binding settlement that will stand up to scrutiny should the divorce case be reopened for any reason in the future.
For more information, reach out to attorneys like Diane Dramko, Attorney At Law.