Divorce is not like most legal actions. One of the things that tends to set it apart from other adjudicated matters is that it is not a finite event. There are bound to be long-term implications. This is certainly true for divorcing couples with children. But it can be equally true in situations where there are no children in the picture.
Consider an aging couple that has been married for decades. Children, if there were any, are grown and gone. Retirement may be on the horizon, but divorce now means that any financial plans the couple may have been following require adjustment to take life after work into account.
The traditional view of divorce is often colored by the idea that it pits two parties in a battle royal over money. Whichever side comes out with the most is thought to be the winner.
That approach that might be more common in high-asset divorce situations, but experts suggest that for most couples, a process of negotiation or divorce mediation delivers an outcome that leaves both spouses in the best position to get on with their lives.
The key to this kind of process, say many experts, is to work with trusted professionals to develop a realistic list of short-term needs and long-term goals and to then use those to set the objectives of the divorce. Such an approach helps avoid “line-in-the-sand” scenarios that result in emotional war and court battles.
What is true in any case is that the divorce is going to be resolved. The question that may be worth asking is which process — litigation or mediation — is the most likely to reach resolution with the least amount of disruption to your long-term goals.
Source: MarketWatch, “Divorce isn’t just about the money grab,” Larry Stein, July 28, 2014