The prospect of divorce can be overwhelming. After building a life with someone, trying to figure out how to split up that life in a way that’s fair may seem impossible. However, it is possible to negotiate a fair divorce settlement with the help of a divorce attorney committed to your best interests.
Know Your Assets and Debts—and What You Want
The division of assets and debts is an important part of any divorce settlement. The state of South Carolina follows the equitable distribution model. Rather than dividing marital assets in half, they divide assets in a way that takes a variety of factors into account. Relevant factors include each party’s income, each party’s health, the role of fault within the marriage, and who will be raising the children from the marriage.
Before you can decide what you want from this part of the settlement, you need a clearer picture of what you have. You should gather all the documentation you have for your attorney. They can request additional documentation for any other assets your spouse has.
Depending on your circumstances, there may be some assets you are committed to keeping and those you care less about. For example, if you own part of a family business, it may be a top priority to you to keep that. You may want to keep the marital home, or you may wish to move and get a fresh start. Either way, know that it’s important to establish your priorities and know the areas in which you are willing to compromise.
Plan for Future Financial Needs
You should also think about the role of child support and spousal support in your divorce settlement. Child support will largely depend on what custody agreement you reach, but it may also be influenced by any unusual or extraordinary needs your children have. For example, if your children’s education is your top priority, you may compromise in other areas to have your spouse pay for your children’s private school tuition and college expenses.
If you are ending a long term marriage and your spouse earns significantly more than you, it may be wise to ask for alimony. The amount to seek is something you and your attorney can discuss based on income disparity and other statutory factors.
Think About Your Ideal Custody Arrangement
For many divorcing couples, child custody is the most challenging topic to discuss. No one wants to lose time with their children, but the needs of the children must come first. Rather than instinctively asking for sole custody, know that courts prefer to ensure that children have meaningful time with both parents. Take note of your work schedule and other obligations, as well as those of your co-parent. This gives you a good place to start custody discussions and parenting schedule options.
It’s important to be flexible throughout this process. You can decide what you want from a divorce settlement, but you should be aware that no one is likely to get 100% of what they want. Because of this, you should think about where you are willing to compromise. Where are you unwilling to yield, and where do you have room for compromise? Note, too, that many of these decisions are important to make in consultation with your attorney. He or she can give you realistic expectations for likely or probably court outcomes in the event your case doesn’t settle.
Additionally, try to avoid making decisions based on emotion. Try to think about what your post-divorce life will look like and what you need for a fresh start. As difficult as it may be to do in practice, it’s important to adjust your mindset as much as possible to see the process as a business dissolution of sorts. Regardless of the reasons for the marriage ending, child-related and financial issues will be decided and property and debt will be divided. It can save you a lot of money and frustration if you can put your primary focus on working through those issues, rather than letting emotions guide your judgment.
Making decisions based on logic, rather than the pain of the divorce ending, will allow you to move through this process in a way you can be proud of, and will enable you to come out happier and healthier on the other side.
Discuss Your Divorce Case with Nowell Law Firm
With a trusted divorce attorney on your side, you can get through this time with less stress and anxiety. The team at Nowell Law Firm is ready to help you navigate your divorce and plan for your future. Get started now by calling us at 864-707-1785 or getting in touch with us online.