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Divorce: it is always personal

Divorce is always complex, because it involves two individuals whose experience and worldview are always unique. While many divorces involve similar issues, they are never exactly alike, and the application of New York family law to their facts will be slightly different. In addition, each individual has their own perspective on what is important and what they expect to obtain through the divorce process.

And this is where your divorce attorney and financial advisor can be helpful. Many people only experience divorce once in their lives. You may have had friends or relatives who have been divorced, but it is never quite the same as when it is your marriage that is being dissolved. 

As a result, you may not know what you should expect at the end of the divorce process. Your attorney can help, by working with you to determine how to best achieve your true goals.

While it is easy to become caught up in disputes over specific assets, convinced that you must "win," if for no other reason than to defeat your spouse, the better plan is to see the divorce process as a means of obtaining the assets you need to meet your goals for your future.

Your property division, even in a high net worth divorce, has limits. You need to determine which assets will truly enhance your future. While a residence or vacation home may have an emotional draw, now is the time to examine if you will use it in the future as you did in the past.

If you can afford and want to keep the family home, you need to carefully assess the long-term costs of that transaction, the mortgage expense, maintenance, association fees, property tax and insurance to ensure that it does not negatively affect the structure of your property settlement.

You do not want your brass ring to turn into an albatross.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Divorce isn't just about the money grab," Larry Stein, July 28, 2014

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