You have worked hard to get where you are in life. Now, your marriage seems to be falling apart. You have tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work.
It isn’t fair. You are facing a divorce or legal separation. Your emotions are running high.
You want to get out of your marriage without “spending a fortune” on a Charleston divorce lawyer. Your spouse makes a settlement offer to you. What are you going to do?
Take control of your financial future. You don’t want to be stuck with latent financial liabilities that could ruin your life after your divorce or legal separation. It’s tough enough to go through the pain of a divorce or legal separation without also inheriting all of the financial problems from the marriage.
Here are some of the more common marital property division mistakes that people make in divorce settlement negotiations. You don’t want to be stuck with any of these items as part of your Charleston divorce settlement or legal separation agreement.
1. Don’t Keep Marital Assets You Can’t Afford.
You don’t want to become a financial victim of your divorce settlement agreement. Many people in Charleston make it their number one priority to keep the family house. Others want to keep expensive boats, vacation homes, planes, investments, pensions, or automobiles. Remaining emotionally attached to one or more marital assets usually leads to a bad divorce settlement.
With just one income after your divorce, you may not be able to pay the home mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance expenses, HOA fees, and utilities. Even if you can afford those substantial expenses, your mortgage company may refuse to refinance the loan in just your name and you could be forced to sell the house. The same could be said for other expensive marital assets.
If this sounds like your financial situation, you must be prepared to “divorce the house before you divorce your spouse.” Instead of fighting to hold onto an expensive asset that you cannot afford, you should negotiate for a large cash payment in exchange for your share of the value of the marital assets and/or request a larger monthly alimony payment.
2. Don’t Settle for Uninsured Future Child Support and Alimony Payments.
In negotiating alimony and child support payments, you should look beyond the next six months or year. If your children are young, it is possible that your spouse will die or be seriously injured before your children reach the age of 19. It is also possible – if not probable – that your spouse will die or become physically unable to continue working before the child support and alimony payments are scheduled to stop.
What will happen then to your alimony and child support payments? The answer is that the alimony and child support payments will stop instantly and you will lose the income on which you and your children have been depending. The financial loss could be overwhelming.
To guard against this possible financial disaster, insist that your spouse obtain life insurance and disability insurance to guaranty that you will receive all of your alimony and child support payments, even if your spouse dies or is seriously injured. An experienced Charleston divorce lawyer can explain to you how to do this.
3. Don’t Get Burdened with Large Tax Liabilities.
Your divorce will be one of the more significant financial events in your life. Most of the terms of your divorce settlement agreement will have tax consequences. You should treat this as a major business deal and educate yourself on the tax ramifications of various divorce settlement options. Be sure to determine the after-tax value of all marital assets.
You may benefit from some divorce tax consequences. For example, you will not have to pay income tax on child support payments that you receive or on an IRA that you receive as part of your marital property division. Conversely, you could take a financial “bath” if you surrender too many tax benefits, have to pay taxes on alimony that you receive, or assume too many tax liabilities as part of the divorce settlement.
Before you enter into any division of marital assets and debts, you should consult with a Charleston divorce attorney who can inform you on the potential tax liabilities from your divorce settlement.
4. Don’t Settle for Emotional Reasons.
Your divorce may be one of the more emotionally charged events of your life. You may quickly find how difficult it is to stay focused on dollars. You could become so depressed and discouraged by the process that you will agree to just about anything just to “get it over.”
When you feel those emotional pains and tugs, leave the reasons for your divorce out of the settlement negotiations. Fight with logic and facts instead of anger or tears. Don’t give up on what you want for your children, even if you are emotionally exhausted. Keep negotiating for a better divorce deal.
Rationally focus on where you want your life to be five years from now. To the extent to which you can make your decisions on the basis of facts and numbers, you are likely to have fewer regrets regarding the division of your marital property and debts.
Conclusion – Get The Help You Need.
If you think that you can “save money” by getting divorced or legally separated without hiring a Charleston divorce attorney, think again. Negotiating the division of your marital property and debts without the help of an experienced Charleston divorce lawyer may be the costliest decision of your life.
Instead, you should hire a Charleston divorce attorney who knows South Carolina family law concerning alimony, sale of the marital home, complex division of marital assets and debts, transfer of retirement plans, repayment of student loans, valuing a business, child custody, child support, and other complex family law and marital property division issues that arise in divorce settlement negotiations.
If you are facing a divorce or legal separation, it is best to start planning before the court papers are served on you. As an experienced Charleston divorce and child custody lawyer, I want to help you. Please call me now at 843-631-7117.