You and your spouse may have been financially successful during the course of your marriage, but your marriage itself may not have been so successful. Does every high-asset divorce in the Detroit area need to be a high-conflict affair pitting one spouse against the other in court? Not necessarily. Couples may be able to amicably settle at least some of their divorce issues out-of-court. The following are some tips for Detroit area couples who want to negotiate their divorce issues with one another in hopes of reaching an out-of-court settlement.
Ensure you understand your financial situation
It is important to have a complete understanding of your financial situation before beginning negotiations, particularly in a high-asset divorce. It may be tempting to try to hide assets but doing so is illegal. Not only are you likely to get caught, but it can stymie any negotiation efforts. Instead, be open about your assets and liabilities. Knowing what you own and owe, both separately and as a couple can help ensure the final outcome is fair.
Ensure you understand Michigan child custody and child support laws
Judges generally require couples to follow Michigan law when it comes to child support, unless there is a very good reason to deviate from what is required per statute. In addition, they will also want to see that child custody and visitation agreements allow the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent.
Identify your wants and needs first
Before beginning divorce negotiations, each spouse should identify what they want out of the divorce, as well as what is fair. Be specific. Some couples find it helpful to write down their “wants,” and then decide which is most important and which is least important. Settlements often mean you will not get everything you want, but identifying what is really important to you ahead of time can help make the final settlement more satisfactory to all involved. Needs, however, should also be identified and should not be hastily bargained away.
Some settlements require a bit of flexibility on the part of both spouses. It should not be a “my way or the highway” situation. By considering all your alternatives you may find a solution you may not have initially considered that meets your needs and your ex’s needs.
Seek legal advice
Even if you and your ex want to negotiate your divorce out-of-court, it can still help for each party to retain independent legal counsel. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, to ensure the final settlement is fair and legally sound. You can visit our firm’s website to learn more about filing for divorce in Michigan.