Let Go Of The Concept Of A “Fair” Divorce Settlement?
As soon as you decide that divorce is a reality … or … your spouse informs you of their decision, immediately thoughts turn to your own financial future and fears. Questions pop up such as:
“Do I make enough money to live on my own?”
“How much of my income will go to support my spouse and the kids?”
“Will I be living in poverty or will I be ok financially?”
A world of unknowns comes in an avalanche of financial and emotional realities that must be dealt with. Despite the stereotypes around vindictive and nasty divorces, my experience is that most couples truly and sincerely want what is reasonable for all involved.
H-m-m-m, how is that defined? Obviously, every person’s idea of fair is different. Depending on how many emotional wounds may have been opened in the marriage, perceived wrongs that demand to be righted, or apologies that remain unspoken, “fair” may be on the peaks of two mountains separated by a broad river of conflict and resentment. This has created a multi-billion-dollar divorce litigation industry. I think there are a couple of better answers using Alternative Dispute Resolution (stay out of court if possible) concepts.
What are the possibilities if you let go of the need for “fairness” and focused on “interest-based” conversations instead? I know - it sounds crazy - but keep an open mind for now. Consider the Collaborative Divorce process. You can learn more by visiting: www.collaborativepracticeflorida.com or www.collaboratedontlitigate.com.
What if there was no concern or angst over what the other person was getting? Both of you sit down together with a divorce financial planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® such as myself, and let’s figure out what each of you need to be financially comfortable.
Then, perhaps you sit down with a Family Mediator to work through any remaining open items. Maybe things are not divided perfectly equal. A judge doesn’t have to be the person to decide your family’s fate. Work to identify creative options that work for everyone involved. Now, that’s a solution to strive for!
So, “fair” really is not the key to a reasonable financial future. Stay focused on the next phase of your life, and how you can move on in a healthy, happy way. Preserve your family and relationships for the years ahead.
As I always tell my clients, my goal is to help you be the best divorced family you can be, because in the end … you are still a family.