There’s no doubt that a high-asset divorce can be an emotionally fraught process. After all, in many instances married individuals who have spent years or decades together are severing their relationship and starting anew. This can make it a challenging time, but there’s a lot more at stake than just your emotions in a high-asset divorce. The truth of the matter is that divorce is a major financial transaction, too.
Most divorces end up settling through negotiations before they ever get to trial. Therefore, if you want to protect your financial interests, you need to have a strong negotiation strategy on your side. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for a successful settlement negotiation.
- Make sure the marital estate is accounted for: Under Wisconsin law, you’re entitled to your fair share, typically half considering that Wisconsin is a community property state, of the marital estate. However, sometimes spouses try to hide marital assets so that they are kept out of the property division process and the spouse gets to keep those assets for themselves. This is unfair and illegal, and it can leave you in a post-divorce financial predicament. Therefore, consider looking for hidden assets, perhaps with the help of a forensic accountant. You’ll want to look for individually held bank accounts, assets that are retitled into the names of others, and assets that are squandered away prior to divorce.
- Know what you need: Once you’ve identified the marital estate, consider which assets you can’t live without post-divorce. You may need a residence, a vehicle, or a certain amount of cash. This can set the parameters of your negotiation and let you know when its time to walk away from settlement talks.
- Know what your spouse needs: If you can identify what your spouse needs, then you can better develop a strategy that positions you for success. You can use those assets that your spouse needs as leverage to get what you need and what.
- Consider what each of you wants: There’s going to be a lot of negotiation over what you and your spouse want but don’t necessarily need. You might have a lot of wiggle room here, but focusing on you want can help steer your strategy, especially if you can specify what your spouse wants out of the negotiations
- Take the proper tone: As we said, there are usually a lot of emotions involved in the divorce process. This oftentimes leads to a lot of aggressiveness and contention during settlement negotiations. But taking this tone can throw up more obstacles to resolution than you want. It can even shut down talks altogether, which will drag out your divorce and leave your property division in the hands of a judge who knows nothing about you and your family’s situation.
Thoroughly address property division in your divorce
There’s too much at stake in your divorce to wing your settlement negotiations. Doing so can put you at risk of being financially disadvantaged post-divorce. That’s why it’s imperative that you do everything you can to take a holistic approach to your divorce. You should have a full understanding of your marital estate, how equitable division works, and how to create compelling legal arguments that position you to take possession of your fair share of marital assets.
It’s not an easy process, especially if you have trouble communicating with your spouse in a productive way. Yet, you don’t have to navigate divorce on your own. Instead, you can secure the assistance of a skilled legal professional who can help you devise the strategy you need and deserve.