In the middle of divorce, you may not think about how your actions can make negotiation difficult and increase your professional costs. At Hoffman Divorce Strategies, we work with you and your attorneys to help you understand your finances and prepare you to negotiate or litigate your divorce. Here are 7 Deadly Financial Sins to avoid during your financial negotiations that can help you control the cost of your divorce and end up with a settlement you can live with.
The inability of one spouse to recognize another spouse’s point of view, often manifesting itself as “lines in the sand”. Not being able to change or modify any position in negotiating the finances of a divorce makes agreement difficult and prolongs the process. Even if you do not want to be married, you must reach an agreement with your spouse or the court will make that agreement for you. While there may be some financial issues that require the decision of the Court, it is the most expensive way of dividing your property and setting support.
If you and your spouse can listen, but not necessarily agree, to each other’s viewpoint, you will likely both be able to agree to a divorce settlement and control the cost of reaching settlement.
When either spouse claims that a particular asset or all assets belong to them. Louisiana is a community property state and property accumulated during your marriage belongs to the community, unless the property can be proven to be separate. Greed most commonly appears when a spouse believes that a retirement plan or investment account solely in their name accumulated during the marriage, is their separate asset.
When one or both spouses have become used to a certain lifestyle that neither is willing to give up. For divorcing couples who cannot increase income or rely on other sources of funds to pay expenses, neither spouse will be able to afford the financial marital lifestyle during the divorce, and the less-moneyed spouse’s financial lifestyle will be negatively impacted after the divorce.
Louisiana family law courts must follow income or legal guidelines when calculating child support and will then consider each spouse’s need and ability to pay when deciding if interim spousal support will be awarded. If there is no money “left” after the payment of expenses and the award of child support, the court will review expenses carefully when deciding the actual needs of and ability to pay support of each spouse.
Often the less moneyed spouse feels wronged by the fact that the other spouse will rebound and continue making more money after the divorce. Your ex-spouse’s ability to earn more money than you after your divorce is not an asset that can be divided in Louisiana.
If you clearly understand the impact of a settlement proposal on your finances, you can plan how to move forward with the assets you will receive and income you will earn after the divorce.
You and your spouse may have a history of spending more than you earn, or more than you need, maintaining your financial lifestyle by borrowing or spending down assets. This financial lifestyle makes settlement difficult. At Hoffman Divorce Strategies we review finances so spouses clearly understand their future financial lifestyle, helping you to avoid this sin.
Author Ambrose Bierce once said that if you “Speak when you are angry, you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” We always advise clients to hold their breath” during negotiations and not react in anger. Words said in anger cannot be taken back and often resurface later in negotiations delaying settlement and increasing the cost of your divorce.
Wrath can be particularly damaging to your relationship with your children. They notice the anger, and this can adversely affect your relationship with them in the future.
Gather all the financial information that you can so that you are not negotiating from a position of ignorance that can cause fear, a common predecessor to anger or Wrath. Remember your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is expert at pushing your emotional buttons and may be doing this deliberately to gain a negotiating advantage or make you appear unreasonable to a judge.
Not preparing for financial negotiation in a divorce is the most common form or Sloth. Sometimes, this is because you do not understand the finances or may not know how to get the information you need. Being unprepared increases your anxiety and often leads to Wrath. If you are unprepared when you try to reach a settlement, you may spend your time and money without being able to make progress.
Hoffman Divorce Strategies works as part of a team with family law attorneys and their clients to prepare defensible financial reports for negotiation or litigation and can work with spouses to help them understand the quality and long-term financial impact of settlement proposals. With a clearer picture of their financial future, we can help the clients of family law attorneys make better decisions and avoid these “ 7 deadly financial sins.” Contact us for more information.