Cleveland Family Law Attorneys

Financial Issues That Bog Down Divorce Negotiations

Like many couples seeking a divorce, you may reject the idea that your breakup must be one of disputes and contention. More options are available to couples than in former years, and many Ohio family courts encourage couples to follow gentler paths to divorce than litigation. If you have children, you may have an added incentive to make your divorce as amicable as possible.

Rather than going through the stressful and expensive process of divorce litigation, you and your spouse have agreed to mediation or collaboration as a way to end your marriage. Perhaps you foresee reaching reasonable agreements with your spouse over the important issues, especially those concerning the children. However, money issues can bring your negotiations to a grinding halt, and it may help you to be aware of the most common financial issues that cause amicable negotiations to break down.

Joint assets

In Ohio and most other states, courts divide marital property equitably, which may not necessarily mean equally. Many factors go into achieving a balance of asset division, including the income of you and your spouse and the lifestyle to which you have been accustomed. Other than individual inheritances and certain gifts, most everything you or your spouse acquired during the time you were married is joint property.

While it may be easy to divide the funds in your savings account, separating the tangible assets may be more difficult, especially if there are items of which you are both fond or that you feel are important to your post-divorce life. To divide those items, you may have to be willing to compromise, perhaps accepting a larger portion of the savings or the nicer vehicle in exchange for sacrificing a beloved piece of furniture or art.

Joint debts

Marital property does not end with assets. Your joint debts are also on the table to for division. Technically, all debts accumulated during the marriage are fair game for division whether you acquired them separately or together. You and your spouse may determine that you will take responsibility for your individual debt, but any account that carries both of your names will need special consideration.

Despite a divorce decree assigning a joint debt to one spouse, the creditor has the right to seek payment from anyone whose name is on the account. If your spouse fails to pay a debt with your name on it, your credit rating will suffer. It is best to pay off as much joint debt as possible before your divorce and to have solid legal counsel to ensure you obtain a fair settlement during your negotiations.