Common Divorce Negotiation Mistakes
Divorce has become such a common occurrence that many people have come to think they can do it with minimal legal assistance or, even worse, completely by themselves.
This is a grave risk. Many people who attempt to negotiate and finalize their own divorces end up unnecessarily forfeiting important rights and setting themselves up for legal trouble in the future. Others ultimately give up and seek legal counsel, but only after their cases have become almost hopelessly convoluted. Investing in competent legal advice at the beginning of the process can often save you time, money and stress in the end.
While New York courts offer self-help resources to unrepresented individuals, there is much more to a divorce (contested or uncontested) than filling out forms. Even negotiating a divorce settlement outside of court is a complicated process, and unrepresented spouses often make some common mistakes:
- Misclassifying property — The distinction between marital property and individual property is not always clear. Assuming something is marital when it is actually individual, or vice-versa, can lead you to agree to an unfair settlement.
- Failing to address all property — Form divorce settlement agreements use general terms and boilerplate language. Not only can this create a great deal of confusion in interpretation but it can also allow many issues to fall through the cracks.
- Assuming that 50/50 is fair — The law in New York is equitable distribution, not necessarily equal distribution. Depending on the circumstances, agreeing to a 50/50 split of the marital assets may be selling yourself short.
Securing competent legal counsel for your divorce is an important investment that may be more affordable than you think. Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia’s divorce attorneys work with clients to ensure they receive the level of representation appropriate for their budget and circumstances. They represent clients in Long Island, Suffolk County and Nassau County.