Things to Ask for in a Divorce Settlement

By Beverly Bird

One of the more unfortunate aspects of divorce is that you must make major decisions regarding your future at a time when you may barely be able to think at all. Before you sit down to negotiate a settlement with your spouse, it's sometimes helpful to meet with family, friends or your attorney and allow them to be your voice of reason. Make a list of what you want from your divorce and honestly listen to the pros and cons of what might happen if you get them.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of divorce is that you must make major decisions regarding your future at a time when you may barely be able to think at all. Before you sit down to negotiate a settlement with your spouse, it's sometimes helpful to meet with family, friends or your attorney and allow them to be your voice of reason. Make a list of what you want from your divorce and honestly listen to the pros and cons of what might happen if you get them.

Marital Home

What happens with the home you’ve been living in for years is often one of the most emotionally charged issues in a divorce settlement. If you want to retain it, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to buy out your spouse’s share of the equity. One way to do this is by refinancing for more than the existing mortgage balance when you change the mortgage into your sole name. Before you ask for the house, make sure you can handle the resulting mortgage payments if you have to refinance to include this extra money. It won’t do you or your children any good to keep the home, only to lose it to foreclosure a few years later. Depending on your income, you might be better off asking your spouse to buy out your interest, or to sell the home, so you can start over with a mortgage you can more easily afford.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Visitation Issues

When parents agree to a custody and visitation schedule in the process of negotiating an entire marital settlement, it’s easy to overlook little details. If you have a certain holiday tradition that you don’t want your children to miss out on because they’re with their other parent every other Christmas or Passover, provide for this ahead of time. You can give up another holiday on a regular basis that’s not as important to you, or offer your spouse an extended chunk of time with the kids in the summer instead. It can be costly to revise your parenting plan after your divorce is over, so try to make it as workable as possible. Ask for one that addresses a variety of potential situations.

Cash Flow

When you’re analyzing which assets you want to keep, consider their impact on your budget. Retirement accounts, stocks and bonds might reflect well on your net worth and provide for your future, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet now on half the income you enjoyed when you were married, those things won't help much. In an emergency, you can cash such accounts in, but there are usually penalties and tax implications. If your post-divorce budget looks tight, consider giving up investment assets and asking for liquid assets or a little more alimony instead, if alimony applies in your case. However, remember that alimony is taxable to you as income. If you end up owing the IRS more at the end of the year, this might not be an advantage.

Joint Debt

In addition to dividing assets, you and your spouse will have to apportion joint debt between you. Ask to have your name removed from joint accounts your spouse will be responsible for paying. One way of doing this is to have him move the balance on a joint account into one in his own name, closing the joint account. Your credit may end up being one of the most important assets you take from your settlement, so try to protect it.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What If the House Won't Sell During a Divorce?

References

Related articles

How to Calculate a Divorce Settlement

Negotiating a divorce settlement is a little like attending an all-you-can-eat buffet when you’re on a diet. Everything on the buffet is edible, and it all may look good, but certain items might not accommodate your long-term plans. Similarly, some assets you’ve spent your marriage accumulating might derail your finances in the days, months and years to come if you add them to your column when dividing marital property. A lawyer or tax professional can also assist to inform you of your best options.

How to Divorce at 60 Years Old

Divorce is never an easy process, and when you’re nearing retirement age, a whole host of new considerations crops up. Although you generally don’t have to worry about custody fights and child support, different disputes can take the place of those issues. Health insurance, Social Security and other retirement benefits become more of a factor.

How Is a Division of Property Figured in a Divorce Where a Home Has a Negative Equity?

When your home is underwater -- when you owe more on the mortgage than the property is worth -- it can complicate your divorce tremendously. You and your spouse must not only divide your assets when you break up, but your debts as well. A home with negative equity falls into both categories.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Handle Your House in a Divorce

Even more than pensions and other retirement accounts, a couple’s home is usually the most significant and expensive ...

Things I Should Do Before Filing for Divorce

Chances are, if you’re about to file for divorce, you’re pretty sure you want one. But before you sign the papers, take ...

How to Keep Money Separate During a Divorce

When divorce is inevitable, the best time to begin disentangling your lives may be before it occurs. If you get an ...

Typical Divorce Settlements

Tales of one spouse walking away with everything in a divorce, leaving the other with crumbs, are usually just that -- ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED