While most people tend to lose a lot while they go through divorce, such as trust and peace of mind, there are some things you can hold onto, if you know what you're doing. The following tips can help you to ensure that your divorce property settlement, at least, is fair and equitable.
1. Declare your finances honestly. You might be tempted to hide some of what you own in order to owe less in the divorce, but that usually comes back to bite you at some time or another; listen to the advice of your counsel, to make the wisest, but clearly legal decisions. Otherwise, you end up acting too emotionally.
2. Think about your long-term financial needs. Although you may have a fight on your hands at the moment, you need to start thinking about your financial future. Don't allow the heat of the moment to take anything away from the future you have planned for yourself.
3. Know the division laws that pertain to your area. Each state has different rules that guide property settlements and you'd be wise to familiarize yourself with them, even after you've hired a lawyer. Keep the rules in mind as you pack, proceed and determine who should get what and why.
4. Let smaller things go, rather than fight over them. Items of little value often cause the biggest arguments, but why fight over something like that when there are far more important and valuable things to dispute? Give up on the insignificant things, choosing your battles (if you have to have them) wisely.
5. Realize the finality of property settlements. If you and your spouse come to an agreement about visitation with the children, it can be changed by a visit to the judge; however, when marital property is settled, there's a finality to it. Know this ahead of time as you prepare to negotiate.
6. Be very clear about the mortgage. Even though one partner may be awarded the house, both of your names are likely on it. If, through the property separation process, you find yourself out of the house, make sure you know what role you'll play with the mortgage. Are you still responsible? What about refinancing options? This can be a very sticky part of divorce, so cover it closely.
7. Don't try to hide assets...This is only likely to come back to haunt you in one way or another, eventually.
8. Don't forget about the dog. No matter how much you love YOUR dog, it's still considered "property" by a court of law. It doesn't matter if you bought and raised the animal all by your lonesome, if it was acquired during the marriage, it's a joint asset.
Divorce is difficult on everyone, but you shouldn't have to literally lose your shirt over it. Make sure you have some way to protect yourself when it comes to the law, because it's often complicated and unforgiving. Keep your head up and your assets covered: You want to come out of this on top.