Regardless of the circumstances of your separation or divorce, the property settlement process can often be exhausting. Without the necessary preparation, it can be lengthy, costly and time-consuming. There is no greater mistake than going in blind; unprepared to negotiate and lacking the right support. Here is how to properly negotiate during a property settlement.
Seek The Right Legal Guidance
Do not skip on seeking counsel on any legal matter, especially where your property and assets are concerned. There are strict deadlines involved in property settlement and numerous options worth considering. The most secure way to get property negotiations handled in an efficient and civil manner and avoid expensive mistakes is to get professional help. Talk to a lawyer who specialises in property settlement to discuss your rights, the law and how to best navigate the process.
Disclose Everything – Keep No Secrets
The need to be crystal clear and transparent during property negotiations cannot be emphasised enough. You will need to disclose all your personal or joint assets and liabilities to your lawyer, your spouse and if there are items you’ve forgotten; yourself, in order to make negotiations as smooth as possible.
Conclude What’s In The Property Pool
Hopefully your ex-spouse or defacto partner also follows Step 2 closely as it is vital for determining what the total value of the property pool is once all assets and liabilities are taken into account. In order to evaluate certain items accurately, as well as your lawyer, you might want to hire your accountant or other financial professionals to assist in making valuations.
Forget About 50/50 As A Rule
There is no law, rule or regulation that recommends or states any kind of equal, 50/50 division of assets as the standard. While sometimes, this does end up being the case, in many scenarios, both parties will give something they value up in order to reach a settlement, or at least be willing to. So make sure to be aware of what you are willing to lose and what you are willing to bargain with. A cost-benefit analysis or pros and cons discussion may be worthwhile.
Never include the children in this decision-making process or threaten to use factors like child custody as a bargaining tool, it is not fair on their wellbeing, can cause various long term problems and is never seen favorably by any professional or Court.
Work closely with your lawyer, to sum up a deal that you, and the law, could deem fair. When working out your percentage, remember that debt and liabilities are taken into account and non-financial contributions such as being a primary carer, stay-at-home parent or homemaker are valued also.
Stay as calm as you can and do not rush any decision-making when it comes to property settlement. The cost of amending a mistake due to an undisclosed asset discovered later is not worth it. Ask your legal professional as many questions as you can throughout the property settlement process and focus on attaining a fair outcome that you can understand.
Be Prepared To Meet In The Middle
This is the best case scenario. Once you are aware of what a fair deal means to you and what you are willing to lose and your ex-spouse experiences the same (ideally), you should commence negotiations until an arrangement where you are able to find middle ground comes up. This is where you settle.
There are a number of property settlement options you can consider with consent orders and binding financial agreements among the more common options. Be sure to discuss all your concerns and queries with an experienced family lawyer you can trust. For more information regarding property settlement negotiations, contact Pentana Stanton Family Lawyers today.