In most instances, divorce cases are settled outside of court. Under the right circumstances, parties can reach an equitable agreement that ends their case and allows them to move forward with their lives. However, there is also the possibility that settlement can go wrong. The good news is that by knowing what to look for, you may be able to bypass some of the common errors that can happen during the settlement process. Here are some major divorce settlement mistakes you can avoid:
Proceeding Without Legal Advice
One mistake people sometimes make during a divorce is trying to negotiate their settlement without an attorney. You will have to make numerous decisions during your divorce that can impact you and your life for years to come. Your choices have legal implications, and it’s essential that you make them with the advice of an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney. Your divorce lawyer will understand each issue and its implications and can help you evaluate your case and protect your interests during the settlement process. Additionally, you will want your divorce attorney to help you assess any proposed settlement offers and determine if the terms are equitable, enforceable, and in your best interests.
Making Decisions out of Anger
The decisions you make during settlement can impact almost every area of your life. Divorce is personal, and you may get frustrated or angry with your ex during the process. Under these circumstances, it can be easy to let your feelings influence your actions. However, making settlement decisions from a place of anger can be detrimental to you and your case. If possible, avoid making binding decisions or reacting to your ex if you are upset. Instead, take time to regain your emotional balance before acting. Making decisions when you are calm will be better for you, your case, and your settlement.
Keeping Property That You Can’t Afford
Sometimes, people want to keep shared marital property they can’t afford or maintain. For instance, you and your ex may be trying to decide who will keep your mortgaged marital home. In that instance, you may want to stay in the house and keep the asset. However, if you don’t have enough income to pay the mortgage and are awarded the asset, keeping it would probably not be in your best interest. In addition, being unreasonably unwilling to release property you can’t pay for or maintain can work against you during settlement negotiations.
Not Considering Mediation
Another major mistake people can make during settlement is not considering or making the most of Divorce Mediation. Divorce Mediation is a process where both parties and their attorneys work with a trained, neutral mediator to try and resolve their issues and settle their case. When used properly, this process can be highly effective and beneficial to both parties, as well as cost-effective.
Some Wisconsin divorce cases have to go to mediation, such as when parents disagree about child custody and physical placement. However, often couples will choose to mediate all issues. Whatever the case, Divorce Mediation can be a highly effective way to settle disputes during divorce. Therefore, not considering the process or making the most of it during your case could be a major mistake.
Being Unrealistic and Inflexible
Settling contested divorce issues will require both sides to be somewhat flexible and willing to work through their issues. When someone comes into the process with unrealistic expectations that are not supported by the facts or law, it can derail negotiations. Additionally, being inflexible will have a similar result.
It’s rare for anyone to walk away from a settlement getting everything they want. In most cases, both sides will have to change their position on one or more issues to settle. By being realistic and open during negotiations, you may be able to improve your chances of attaining a settlement.
It is usually better for parties to work out their own agreement rather than leaving case decisions up to the court. If you are involved in or contemplating a Wisconsin divorce, you should contact an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney to discuss the settlement process and other important aspects of your case.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and Mediator with the experience you need to help you with your Wisconsin divorce case. If you live in Metro Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Brookfield and have questions about representing yourself when your ex has an attorney, please contact us today and let us take a “first look” at your situation.