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Look for some common pitfalls in divorce negotiations

A recent article in Time by a distinguished divorce financial planner itemizes some common mistakes that people make during divorce negotiations. First, it is stressed that property division, whether it is undertaken in Georgia or another jurisdiction, is a once and done activity. Litigants in a divorce do not get a chance to go back and do it again or change what they already decided.

If it is a high or medium net worth divorce, it’s even more important for the individual to go over all proposals and provisions with a certified divorce financial planner and the divorce attorney. During these working meetings, the client should ask any and all questions, and repeat some if necessary to get a clear understanding. Both of these experienced professionals are qualified by training and experience, and only too happy to explain every issue and provision.

Furthermore, unreasonable proposals from the other side should be challenged and strongly negotiated. The divorce litigant should take advantage of the experienced professionals that he or she has retained. The worst kind of outcome is when a person wakes up a few years later and decides that he or she did not understand the terms and mechanics of the property settlement agreement.

Additionally, it’s a mistake to give up assets in return for child custody or increased visitation. It’s a decision that is often regretted down the line when an individual may be suffering economic hardship. Some people put themselves into a demanding, rushing kind of mindset. They may be willing to give up assets and are likely to underestimate their future needs and living expenses.

Whether the negotiations are taking place in Georgia or some other jurisdiction, some universal issues must be addressed prior to a final divorce. It may be a good idea, for example, to have insurance in place to cover the possibility of the former spouse becoming disabled or dying. By insurance on his or her life, great hardship may be avoided. Some other common things to address -- health insurance, credit card debt, pension benefit transfers and obtaining the spouse’s cooperation in signing documents like car titles or joint financial accounts.

Source: Time, "The 7 Biggest Mistakes That Divorcing Women Make", Lili A. Vasileff, July 9, 2014

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