Although you’ll have to confront the emotional realities of your divorce as you navigate the marriage dissolution process, you’ll also have to walk through the financial decisions that will shape your post-divorce life.
You might be able to do this through effective settlement negotiation, but all too often even talking to your spouse about the process is nearly impossible, let alone negotiating complex asset distribution.
What can you do in these situations?
How to talk to your spouse about asset division
Under state law, marital assets, also known as community property, have to be divided equally. That said, there’s always a lot of room to argue what’s appropriate under the circumstances. While that can be stressful, there are steps that you can take to make discussing this complicated issue easier. Here are some of them:
- Identify priorities: You and your spouse are going to enter divorce negotiations with your own set of priorities. You’ll want to identify those upfront so that you can find common ground, then focus on the issues that matter most. This way you and your spouse will both be invested in the conversation at hand.
- Articulate the justification for your request: Disputes often arise in settlement negotiations when requests are made in a way that feel aggressive and like a way of attacking their spouse. You can ease that tension by clearly specifying why you’re making your requests. This will also foster more productive conversations rather than spur a back-and-forth that does nothing than breed resentment.
- Be willing to compromise: You’re not going to get everything you want out of your divorce. By recognizing that going in, you can dampen the impact of giving up some of the assets that you might want. This compromise is necessary to get through your divorce, though, especially given that you don’t know how the matter will shake out if you end up taking it to trial.
- View the process like a business deal: It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you when negotiating your divorce settlement. But those emotions can throw up roadblocks to successful resolution. By viewing your divorce as a business transaction, though, you can remove emotional responses from the equation, which can make it easier to get through the process.
- Don’t fall for coercive tactics: There’s oftentimes a power imbalance in divorce negotiations. This can lead to coercion. If you’re on the receiving end of coercive tactics such as escalating demands, lying, making you feel guilty, and personally attacking you, then you might feel tempted to rush through the process, which probably isn’t in your best interests. So, if you spot these tactics being used, then you should take a break to regroup before re-engaging in the process.
- Encourage cooperation: This sounds obvious, but you can further foster cooperation and collaboration by using language that engages your spouse in the process. Try using “we” language when you can and seek clarification of things that you don’t understand.
Have a strong plan going into your property division negotiations
The property division process in your divorce is going to have a tremendous impact on your future. That’s why it’s imperative that you have a strong legal strategy going into your negotiations. One of the best ways to do this is to act as if your case is going to trial. That way you have compelling and justifiable reasons for your settlement requests, and you can show that you’re not so afraid that you’re going to backdown.
Of course, navigating the legal complexities of your case can be stressful. However, we think that by reading our website, educating yourself, and finding support, you can build yourself up so that you’re confident going into the divorce legal issues that await you.