Although divorce is often referred to as a “battle,” it is more accurately described (in most cases) as a series of negotiations. You and your spouse are trying to split apart assets, debts, income and even parenting responsibilities that were once shared. If your divorce is to be productive, it’s important to know when to compromise.
That being said, it is also important to know when to stand your ground. A recent Huffington Post article discusses some issues on which you should we willing to say “no” if the deal being offered does not meet your needs. These include temporary maintenance (alimony) and child custody agreements.
A divorce can take months or even years to finalize. At the beginning of the process, the lower-income spouse may be awarded temporary maintenance in order to remain financially stable during the divorce. Post-divorce maintenance may be similar to this amount or it may change.
If you are the alimony recipient, the amount of temporary alimony you are awarded should reflect your costs of living. If you have done the math and determine that the monthly alimony payments being offered are too low, you should be prepared to reject the offer and advocate for the dollar amount that you actually need.
Child custody is also a “deal-breaker” for many divorcees, and with good reason. If you and your spouse will be sharing custody or if your spouse is fighting for sole custody, you should be prepared to defend your rights as the other parent.
Before you sign off on a custody agreement, ask yourself some questions: Is this a fair split? Is this agreement in the best interests of my children? Is my spouse trying to take custody at times when it really does not make practical sense (such as during periods of extensive business travel)?
Remember that the custody agreement must work for the children first and parents second. If you agree to an unfair custody arrangement, it could cause long-term problems for the whole family.
Finally, remember that you should be able to say “no” to your attorney. Hopefully, your working relationship will be good enough that you will take your attorney’s advice more often than not, but you should at least feel comfortable speaking up for the aspects of your case that are most important to you.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Top 3 Times When It’s Okay to Say ‘No’ in Divorce Proceedings,” Brendan Lyle and Rachel Reda, Oct. 8, 2014