Even if you assume that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can work together to settle your divorce, you never know exactly what will happen until the process begins.
There are a variety of friction points that are likely to move to the forefront, all of which can cause tension and slow down the process. Here are five to plan for in advance:
- Property division: This is especially true in the event that you have high value assets, such as retirement accounts, real estate and business interests. A property division checklist can help you better understand your assets, including which ones are subject to division.
- Debt division: Just the same as your assets, debts require division during the divorce process. Make a list of all your debts, as well as which ones are separate and which ones are joint. These often include your mortgage, car loans, personal loans and credit cards.
- The family home: This is a friction point if both individuals want to remain in the home. At that point, it will take some compromise and negotiation to work things out. For example, it may make the most sense for the person with physical custody of your children (if you have any together) to stay in the home.
- Child custody: Speaking of children, you’ll have to work out a variety of issues regarding child custody, such as who gets physical custody and who gets visitation rights. There are also questions of legal custody to address.
- Child support and alimony: For instance, the parent with physical custody may expect child support from the other parent. Just the same, matters regarding alimony (also known as spousal support) could come into play.
Some of these friction points are easy to overcome with the appropriate level of negotiation and compromise. Others, however, have the potential to drag on, thus complicating the divorce process.
When you plan for these friction points, it’s easier to deal with anything that comes your way. It’s also easier to avoid surprises.
Even though you want to put the divorce process in the past, don’t do anything that compromises your legal rights and future well-being.