People generally like to seem reasonable and willing to compromise. Even people who are undergoing a divorce may aim to keep things amicable in order to hold onto their dignity, to honor their family, or to respect the love they once shared. While keeping divorce proceedings from being degraded into squabbles and selfishness is a noble goal, the desire to keep negotiations and an agreement respectable at all costs can backfire.
There are several factors to consider during settlement negotiations before the divorce is finalized. It is important to get every detail worked out in advance as people and situations can change over time. The following are some of the major issues that can affect an informal pact over time.
While divorce matters surrounding division of property and monetary assets are undoubtedly important in a divorce, family financial issues are sometimes more complicated and enduring. The financial impact of child support is often the biggest issue that continues long after the papers are signed, and marital assets are split.
Asset divisions can be complex, and spousal support issues can be difficult, but when negotiations involve children, the concerns are likely to be more emotional and fraught. When it comes to family issues, both sides may want to remain agreeable. Therefore, it can be tempting to put off making tough decisions, agreeing to continue a more free-rein arrangement. It is also common for co-parents to make a show of solidarity and give each other the benefit of a doubt, promising to make decisions together as concerns arise.
This ideal can be dangerous for a parent who will need to depend on a steady income to support the children, if the verbal agreement should fail to stand the test of time. Specifics that should be included in the agreement should cover extra-curricular activity fees, school supplies, and other incidentals. Apart from shared costs, the plan should also clarify that child support is intended to provide for the child’s needs when they are in the care of the parent receiving the support, not for all child-related expenses stemming from both households.
Vague plans to share custody can provide too much ambiguity. Sometimes the best way to move forward with a realistic prospect of parental teamwork is to have a concrete plan that lays out the expectations on both sides. A custody schedule may be altered if no one opposes the changes, but having a solid agreement provides a dependable framework to work around. This can be especially useful when special events, such as birthdays and holidays, come into play.
The custody arrangement for holidays should be specific about whether the arrangement will alternate year to year, or if the children will be with one parent every Thanksgiving and the other every Christmas, for example. Plans for school breaks or long weekends may also enter the discussion.
When children are involved, it is likely that some type of affiliation with one’s ex-spouse will have to continue. Most sensible co-parents will realize that they have to remain in some type of cordial relationship for the sake of their family. During divorce negotiations, both sides should focus on the best interests of their children. Unfortunately, some ex-spouses experience bitterness regarding the financial set-up or resentment against their former spouse. When these feelings change, amicable agreements reached in official divorce negotiations may need to be enforced. If the agreed-upon arrangements are not explicitly spelled out in the divorce papers, any animosity that has developed since the decree’s signing can cause an angry ex-spouse to take a stand against any verbal agreements.
The spirit of compromise and united vision can be spoiled by the realities of life after divorce. This is especially true if one side is less than truthful about their intentions to stand by the integrity of the communal ideals supporting the open agreement. Things can also turn sour quickly once the papers are signed. If one side of the negotiating table is too willing to accept a verbal agreement, the other side may see an opening to exploit.
Even when negotiations are entered by both sides with true and honest intentions to get along, people change. Lives go on and situations adjust to new realities. As children grow and new romantic partners enter the picture, the family dynamic becomes altered in a way that may affect the well-meaning collaboration the ex-spouses once aspired to. The needs of the children will certainly change over time. During the inevitable phases of their development, one parent may lament a loss of connection with the children. A wounded or offended parent may take retribution by cutting off support for the child, leaving the other parent to pick up the financial slack.
Another fairly common issue that can upend a peaceful post-divorce rapport is when a new love interest comes along. Not only might the existence of a new relationship threaten the comfort previously enjoyed by the ex-spouses, but a new perspective may be introduced into the mix. A new partner may feel free to stick their nose into the established family set-up, overturning some long-standing practices that were understood and abided.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with All Types of Divorce Matters
If you are planning to divorce, the Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you learn about your rights and walk you through the divorce process. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.