After child custody, property division is the most common reason that people wind up bringing a case to divorce court. Unfortunately, fighting it out in divorce court is seldom worth the time and expense of legal fees. Here's why:
Let's say, for example, that after debts, your assets are valued at $100,000. Typically a fair and equitable division would be $50,000 to each party but one party wants the division to be 60/40. It's likely you will spend more than $10,000 in legal fees to gain (or fight not to lose) that additional $10,000 in assets. You will have enriched a lawyer for that small opportunity of gain. And that money, which you will need to move forward with your life, will be gone.
Before you decide to fight about property division, consider whether you could achieve those results with much less cost by using divorce mediation to reach a property settlement agreement. The benefits of mediation are many, including a faster resolution, a more cost-effective outcome, and a solution that both parties will find acceptable. That means less fighting and hostile feelings after the divorce is over.
If you and your partner will be parenting children together, it will be particularly beneficial to learn how to work on complicated issues together, for the sake of your children.
Arriving at a Fair and Equitable Settlement Agreement
People are often concerned that they don't know enough about the value of their assets or the state of their finances to be able to arrive at a fair settlement agreement. There is no need to worry, however. You aren't doing this alone.
Rhode Island divorce mediator Kerry Rafanelli has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in divorce cases, as a divorce attorney and as a mediator. He understands the financial issues that will need to be discussed. He can advise you where to get appraisals on pensions, on property, and on business interests, so that when you arrive at the mediation you have the information you need at hand to help you make the right decision.
Mr. Rafanelli can help you understand how a divorce court judge would see your case and what the most likely result would be if you were to take it to court. That doesn't mean you have to reach that resolution; in mediation you have the freedom to negotiate something different, if you choose. But knowing the most likely result can serve as a baseline for you.
Whether you are in mediation or in court, you will need to fully disclose your finances – what you have, what you earn, what you need. You will have an opportunity to develop a budget, to consider whether alimony is needed and whether the other party can afford to pay. This will be negotiated, along with the distribution of marital assets and debts.
Why Pay More to Lose a Fight?
It's not unusual for divorce lawyers to tell clients what they want to hear; that they can get everything they want and more, or that their spouse will get much less. Usually that's just not true and it can be a costly mistake to pursue that unrealistic dream. With Mr. Rafanelli, you will get accurate information, clear guidance, sound direction and positive affirmation that the resolution you have arrived at – together – is one that will be satisfactory to both of you.
If you're ready to reach a resolution and put your divorce behind you, contact divorce mediator Kerry Rafanelli to learn how mediation can help you with property division and spousal support agreements.