How divorcing couples can avoid the nightmare

The friendlier your divorce settlement, the more likely you are to have a better settlement. A long, drawn out divorce war is hardly likely to benefit anyone but a bevy of well-fed divorce lawyers.

How divorcing couples can avoid the nightmare

By Bruce Cameron

Divorce, as well as marriage, can be a relationship until death do you part. Divorce as a legal procedure can be fairly straightforward.

Parting couples need merely claim an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” as sufficient reason.

But behind this reason lies what can be a nightmare of negotiations and consequences that can lead to a different type of knot of dependency and friction that could be far worse than any previous destructive relationship.

Very few people come out of a divorce situation financially stronger than the position was when they were married.

Generally the better you have prepared in the past the easier the future will be. The two main factors in this are:

Your original marriage contract: if you initially had a poor marriage contract you could find yourself significantly worse off.

Your level of dependency: If you allowed yourself to become totally dependent on your partner both emotionally and financially then you multiply your problems.

The friendlier your divorce settlement, the more likely you are to have a better settlement. A long, drawn out divorce war is hardly likely to benefit anyone but a bevy of well-fed divorce lawyers.

Often the first offer is the best offer you will get.

There are four rules you should apply when contemplating divorce. These are:

Rule One: Avoid a do-it-yourself job
Unless you have no dependents and your financial affairs are quite simple, and you are not expecting to be paid any alimony, then you should avoid a do-it-yourself divorce. There are guides available at your local bookshop which will tell you how to do it yourself.

Rule Two: A draft settlement
Attempt to get a draft agreement of the financial settlement you would both like to get before visiting a lawyer. This will reduce the legal costs.

Rule Three: Use legal advice
You must involve a lawyer who will give you individual advice to ensure that the settlement is fair and legally sound.

Rule Four: What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Many women are often the family breadwinner. Claims can be made equally against a woman breadwinner as against a male breadwinner.

  • This article was originally published on page 12 of The Cape Argus on May 23, 2005

© Independent Online 2005. All rights reserved. IOL publishes this article in good faith but is not liable for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information it contains.

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