Couples choosing to file for legal emancipation through the JOY of Divorce face many difficult decisions during this process. Few will be more challenging than determining priorities that are worth fighting for when drafting an agreement or litigating in court.
Some areas in dispute are certainly worth fighting for, often when there is money or significant assets involved. Some negotiations will be sidetracked by emotions attached to certain assets, or even fighting over something only because the other spouse has a sentimental attachment.
Different divorces have different priorities. Anything can be negotiated, but it is a mistake to dispute each point, and sometimes there may be no upside. For example, Texas courts believe that it is in the best interests of the children when both parents are actively involved. This means that sole custody without visitation is unlikely unless a parent has serious concerns about the spouse’s ability to parent, and backs this up by substantial evidence that supports these concerns.
Other areas where disputes are common
It may all seem important, but there may be areas that are not worth drawing that line in the sand:
- The house: Homes are often a couple’s most significant asset, so it would seem logical to want it. However, a big house may mean a large mortgage, high taxes and expensive upkeep, so it may be smart to either let the other spouse have that burden or sell the house.
- Retirement assets: These were created for a reason and may be a family’s largest asset by the time parents retire. This nest egg is worth fighting for a fair share of even when the family is still young.
- A business: Businesses bought or started after marriage is usually a marital asset, and therefore would be split. Once a fair value for the company is established, the owner should fight for control of their business if they do not plan to sell or retire.
- Fair support: The state has standard formulas that apply to child support and spousal maintenance. Circumstances will vary, but the higher-earning spouse likely pays support at least until the children are grown.
- Vacation homes or boats: Unless these have passed through the family, it is often best to let these big-ticket items go.
Many options for negotiation
Disputes can be litigated in court or negotiated without a judge. However, a knowledgeable Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Tarrant County, Midland County, Ector County, or elsewhere throughout Texas has extensive experience finding fair and equitable solutions to these and other issues surrounding the divorce.