The most frequent question we get from clients is, “Is this a fair settlement offer?”. This is a complicated question and differs depending on every situation. There is no one size fits all answer for a variety of reasons.
First, fair is a relative term. If you want a split of the assets that is exactly even, it is much harder than splitting all assets and liabilities in half. Taxes are a major factor that will affect assets moving forward. For more information on how taxes effect your settlement, see our blog post, “Taxes on Money from a Divorce”.
Is it fair that one spouse squandered away money that should not have been spent? Is it fair that one spouse wants to keep a booming business in exchange for some money in an investment account? Is it fair that one spouse was trying to hide assets and many still be hiding assets that you don’t know about? Sometimes you might feel that a fair settlement is not an equal division of assets.
It may be easier to answer, “What do you want?”. It is important to determine what you really want from your settlement. Maybe your first priority is to keep the pension that you have worked for years to accumulate, and it is fair to you to give up something else in order to keep your pension. Maybe you don’t know what assets you want to keep, but you do know that your priority is for you to be able to still retire at the age you had planned.
Whatever your priorities are, write them down and use them as a way to judge what is fair for you. Remember that fair and equal are not always the same. The important thing is you have a settlement that you feel confident about and that aligns with your priorities now and post-divorce.
If you want help with crafting a fair financial settlement, call us to discuss your specific situation and see if we might be an important addition to your divorce team.