How To Determine Your Goals Before The Divorce Process Begins*
How To Determine Your Goals Before The Divorce Process Begins*
Having clear goals is so important during a divorce and you need to identify your goals at the very beginning of the process. It’s incredibly rare that both parties get exactly what they want, which is why you need to decide which things are most important to you and which areas you are willing to make concessions in. Once you are able to identify your priorities, you will be in a much better position to negotiate during the divorce and hopefully, avoid conflict as much as possible. But how do you identify your main goals during a divorce?
Custody And Placement
If you have children, they should always be your priority during a divorce. It’s important that you put them first and you consider what is best for them, even if it’s not necessarily what you want. Naturally, both parents will want their child to stay with them but you have to be realistic and accept that it may be better to stay with your ex-spouse.
The first step when setting your priorities is understanding the difference between custody and placement. Legal custody covers your legal right to make decisions on behalf of your child while placement, sometimes called physical custody, deals with the time that the child spends with each parent. It’s important that you and your spouse discuss what is best for the child and decide what your goals in terms of custody are.
You may decide that you will have joint custody of the children or you might decide that one of you should have sole custody. If you disagree about this, you will have to fight your case in court and this can lead to a lot of conflict, so deciding it out of court is best. Don’t fight for custody because you want to get back at your spouse, only do it if you genuinely think that it’s best for the child.
Child Support And Maintenance
Whoever has custody of the child needs to be financially stable so they can provide for them. Once you have decided on your goals in terms of custody, you need to think about your aims for child support and maintenance. The decisions you make about physical custody will determine who gets child support, and you then need to think about the amount. In many states, there is a formula to work out the correct amount of child support based on the income of both parties and the time that the child spends with each parent. You need to assess your finances and consider how much child support you realistically need to take care of your child. But you also need to think about your spouse and how their financial situation is. If you fight for too much, you can leave them in a difficult financial position, which leads to a lot of resentment.
If your income is significantly lower than your spouse, you may decide that you want to ask for maintenance. However, you should only make this a priority if you are in a difficult financial situation and you need the money. Fighting for maintenance to spite your spouse is the wrong thing to do. If you do claim maintenance payments from your spouse, the amount will be determined by a number of factors including your income, the length of the marriage and your contributions to the marriage.
When you are determining your goals for child support and maintenance, it’s not about getting the most money for yourself. It’s about finding a way to improve the financial situation of both parties as much as possible and, most important of all, ensuring that your child is supported.
Assets And Debts
Dividing up the assets and debts and determining what is most important to you can be very difficult. Working out which assets are clearly defined as personal assets is a good place to start. There are certain things that you both agree on, but difficulties arise when it comes to splitting the shared assets.
If you start trying to claim as much as possible, it will only lead to conflict. Instead, you should prioritize the things that mean the most to you and then be flexible on other things. Many people make the mistake of considering the monetary value of items when deciding what is most important to them but it’s best to think about the sentimental value instead.
You also need to decide how debts are split up. In many states, the court considers them to be split 50/50 unless you argue otherwise. If your spouse has a lot of personal debts due to poor financial decisions, you should not be held responsible for them. When considering debts, it is often best to make some concessions on assets so you take on fewer debts. If coming out of a divorce in a strong financial position is a priority, you need to think carefully about taking on debts.
Achieving Your Goals
Once you have determined your goals, you need to work out how you are going to achieve them. Hopefully, a lot of your goals will line up with the goals of your spouse, which makes the whole process a lot easier. Everything else will have to be decided in negotiations, which could mean direct discussions between you and your spouse or discussions between your lawyers.
In most cases, it’s best to avoid direct communication between you and your spouse, even if you think that you are on good terms. When emotions are running high, it’s easy for arguments to start and the whole thing will descend into point scoring. But if you get your lawyers to negotiate on your behalf, things will usually run a lot smoother and they will come to an agreement that helps both parties reach as many of their goals as possible.
If you still can’t make an agreement, you will have to litigate in court. In that case, it’s far more likely that at least one of you will feel as though you haven’t met all of your goals in the divorce.
Before you start the process, it’s important that you decide what your goals are so you can stay on track throughout the process.
* This is a contributed post and may contain affiliate links
suzyMillerCreator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
6th March 2022
1st December 2023
Sue Lee Hypnotherapy
Sue Lee Hypnotherapy Your Catalyst for Change As a dedicated Hypnotherapist, Life, Health & Wellness Coach, I am devoted to guiding individuals on their journey towards self discovery, personal growth, and well-being. With a holistic approach to healing, I integrate the powerful techniques of Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and Coaching to […]Read More
I'm doing all the parenting admin and my Ex contributes no money - but still wants half my assets!
Do you have the main responsibilities for the practicalities of parenting (buying clothes/making sure uniform is washed/dinner money) post divorce? So called 50/50 co-parenting still usually means one parent is responsible for the everyday admin. Also – there is one parent who can’t just suddenly get a full time job miles away because they are […]Read More
Your Relationship Guru: Celia Conrad
Your Relationship Guru: Celia Conrad Helping you heal from the pain of break-up and personal loss and create positive lasting change. Celia Conrad is a relationship expert. She has a diploma in relationship coaching, is an accredited break-up and divorce coach practitioner and master practitioner (specialising in domestic abuse), a certified grief educator and certified […]Read More
Parenting Conflict Resolution Expert: Jenni Rock Coaching
Jenni Rock Coaching Parenting Conflict Resolution Expert I help those parents to escape the war that started with their Divorce Proceedings I spent 15 years living with a very challenging person who taught me the kind of relationship I never wanted to have again. Once that ended, we had to co-parent as best we could. […]Read More
Does your Workplace have a Separating Families Policy for Divorcing Parents?
Did you know that in a 2014 study for the Nashville Business Journal, they found that in the 6 months leading up to and during the year of a divorce, an employee’s productivity is reduced by 40% and will suffer on some level for the next 7 years. Not only that, but there is an impact on the […]Read More
Infidelity? It’s none of my business
The shock of the breakup was so sudden, so extreme, that normal behaviour would have seemed inappropriate The events that lead up to it should have left clues, but they didn’t register: The bank letters addressed in his name that I didn’t open because I’d learned that it was, apparently, none of my […]Read More
A Strange Gift: Unplanned Solo Parenting It’s a January morning in 2003 and I can’t bring myself to take the kids to school. What will I say when someone asks me “How are you?” The answer, you see, is just not the stuff of polite conversation. “W E L L… My partner of […]Read More